Investors can buy low cost index fund if they want to receive the average market return. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. That's what has happened with the MyState Limited (ASX:MYS) share price. It's up 11% over three years, but that is below the market return. Unfortunately, the share price has fallen 1.9% over twelve months.
Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
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. 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.
MyState was able to grow its EPS at 0.9% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 4% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. It's not unusual to see the market 're-rate' a stock, after a few years of growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for MyState the TSR over the last 3 years was 27%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
MyState shareholders gained a total return of 3.1% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 6% a year, over half a decade) look better. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand MyState better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with MyState (including 1 which can't be ignored) .
MyState is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 AU 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.