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Generation Development Group's (ASX:GDG) investors will be pleased with their impressive 227% return over the last three years

The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But in contrast you can make much more than 100% if the company does well. To wit, the Generation Development Group Limited (ASX:GDG) share price has flown 198% in the last three years. How nice for those who held the stock! And in the last month, the share price has gained 9.8%. But this could be related to good market conditions -- stocks in its market are up 6.6% in the last month.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 3 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

View our latest analysis for Generation Development Group

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During the three years of share price growth, Generation Development Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 8.3% per year.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

Languishing at just 1.4%, we doubt the dividend is doing much to prop up the share price. It may well be that Generation Development Group revenue growth rate of 53% over three years has convinced shareholders to believe in a brighter future. If the company is being managed for the long term good, today's shareholders might be right to hold on.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Generation Development Group will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Generation Development Group, it has a TSR of 227% 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

We're pleased to report that Generation Development Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 29% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 10%. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Generation Development Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Generation Development Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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