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Those who invested in First Busey (NASDAQ:BUSE) a year ago are up 26%

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Diversification is a key tool for dealing with stock price volatility. Of course, the aim of the game is to pick stocks that do better than an index fund. First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE) has done well over the last year, with the stock price up 21% beating the market return of 18% (not including dividends). Having said that, the longer term returns aren't so impressive, with stock gaining just 6.4% in three years.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

See our latest analysis for First Busey

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the last year First Busey grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 20%. The similarity between the EPS growth and the 21% share price gain really stands out. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. We don't think its coincidental that the share price is growing at a similar rate to the earnings per share.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We know that First Busey has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of First Busey, it has a TSR of 26% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that First Busey shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 26% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 0.6%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand First Busey better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with First Busey (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.