Buying shares in the best businesses can build meaningful wealth for you and your family. While not every stock performs well, when investors win, they can win big. Don't believe it? Then look at the Australian Ethical Investment Ltd. (ASX:AEF) share price. It's 489% higher than it was five years ago. And this is just one example of the epic gains achieved by some long term investors. In more good news, the share price has risen 24% in thirty days.
So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Over half a decade, Australian Ethical Investment managed to grow its earnings per share at 39% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 43% average annual increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Dive deeper into Australian Ethical Investment's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Australian Ethical Investment's 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, Australian Ethical Investment's TSR for the last 5 years was 548%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Australian Ethical Investment shareholders are down 21% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 3.0%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 45% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how Australian Ethical Investment scores on these 3 valuation metrics.
We will like Australian Ethical Investment better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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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