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Update: Watts Water Technologies (NYSE:WTS) Stock Gained 49% In The Last Three Years

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By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. Just take a look at Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:WTS), which is up 49%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 37% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 12%, including dividends.

Check out our latest analysis for Watts Water Technologies

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During three years of share price growth, Watts Water Technologies moved from a loss to profitability. So we would expect a higher share price over the period.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NYSE:WTS Past and Future Earnings, June 17th 2019

We know that Watts Water Technologies has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? If you are thinking of buying or selling Watts Water Technologies stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Watts Water Technologies, it has a TSR of 54% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Watts Water Technologies has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 12% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 8.5%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

But note: Watts Water Technologies may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.