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Investing in SouthState (NASDAQ:SSB) a year ago would have delivered you a 39% gain

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Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. For example, the SouthState Corporation (NASDAQ:SSB) share price is up 36% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market return of around 23% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. Zooming out, the stock is actually down 1.3% in the last three years.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 1 year and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

Check out our latest analysis for SouthState

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 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.

SouthState boasted truly magnificent EPS growth in the last year. We don't think the exact number is a good guide to the sustainable growth rate, but we do think this sort of increase is impressive. We are not surprised the share price is up. Strong growth like this can be evidence of a fundamental inflection point in the business, making it a good time to investigate the stock more closely.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free interactive report on SouthState's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, SouthState's TSR for the last 1 year was 39%, 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

It's good to see that SouthState has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 39% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 3% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

SouthState is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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