When we invest, we’re generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, long term Wincanton plc (LON:WIN) shareholders have enjoyed a 34% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 5.8% (not including dividends).
Let’s take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they’ve been consistent with shareholders returns.
View our latest analysis for Wincanton
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Wincanton’s earnings per share are down 8.3% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Because earnings per share don’t seem to match up with the share price, we’ll take a look at other metrics instead.
In fact, the dividend has increased over time, which is a positive. Maybe dividend investors have helped support the share price. The revenue growth of about 6.0% per year might also encourage buyers.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. In the case of Wincanton, it has a TSR of 58% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Wincanton had a tough year, with a total loss of 3.5% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 3.5%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 10%, each year, over five years. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should be aware of the 3 warning signs we’ve spotted with Wincanton .
If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on British 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.