While Auto Trader Group plc (LON:AUTO) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 14% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been pleasing. It has returned a market beating 62% in that time.
So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 5 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
Over half a decade, Auto Trader Group managed to grow its earnings per share at 7.7% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 10% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Auto Trader Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Auto Trader Group the TSR over the last 5 years was 71%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Auto Trader Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 15% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 11% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Is Auto Trader Group cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Of course Auto Trader Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.