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Investing in Franchise Brands (LON:FRAN) three years ago would have delivered you a 94% gain

One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, Franchise Brands plc (LON:FRAN) shareholders have seen the share price rise 88% over three years, well in excess of the market decline (0.3%, not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 17% in the last year , including dividends .

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

See our latest analysis for Franchise Brands

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 three years of share price growth, Franchise Brands achieved compound earnings per share growth of 3.8% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 23% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that, as the business progressed over the last few years, it gained the confidence of market participants. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth. This optimism is also reflected in the fairly generous P/E ratio of 47.52.

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

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Franchise Brands' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Franchise Brands' TSR for the last 3 years was 94%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Franchise Brands has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 17% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 14%. 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 Franchise Brands better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Franchise Brands is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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