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By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, Westgold Resources Limited (ASX:WGX) shareholders have seen the share price rise 75% over three years, well in excess of the market return (28%, not 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.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, Westgold Resources moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Westgold Resources' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. We note that for Westgold Resources the TSR over the last 3 years was 83%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Westgold Resources shareholders are down 24% for the year, (even including dividends), but the broader market is up 31%. Of course the long term matters more than the short term, and even great stocks will sometimes have a poor year. Fortunately the longer term story is brighter, with total returns averaging about 22% per year over three years. Sometimes when a good quality long term winner has a weak period, it's turns out to be an opportunity, but you really need to be sure that the quality is there. 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.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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.
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