When you buy shares in a company, it’s worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For example, the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) share price has soared 276% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. It’s also good to see the share price up 18% over the last quarter.
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 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.
During five years of share price growth, Apple achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 18% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 30% per year, over the same period. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Dive deeper into Apple’s key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Apple’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. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Apple the TSR over the last 5 years was 293%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s nice to see that Apple shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 24% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 31% per year, is even more impressive. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Apple better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Apple you should know about.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on American 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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