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One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. Just take a look at SDI Limited (ASX:SDI), which is up 48%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 31% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 33% , including dividends .
So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During three years of share price growth, SDI achieved compound earnings per share growth of 16% per year. We don't think it is entirely coincidental that the EPS growth is reasonably close to the 14% average annual increase in the share price. This observation indicates that the market's attitude to the business hasn't changed all that much. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for SDI the TSR over the last 3 years was 65%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that SDI has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 33% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 9%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. Take risks, for example - SDI has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
But note: SDI may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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.