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If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, the Marlin Business Services Corp. (NASDAQ:MRLN) share price is 91% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 54% (not including dividends) in the same period. That's a solid performance by our standards! Unfortunately the longer term returns are not so good, with the stock falling 50% in the last three years.
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.
Marlin Business Services went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.
We think the growth looks very prospective, so we're not surprised the market liked it too. Inflection points like this can be a great time to take a closer look at a company.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Marlin Business Services' 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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Marlin Business Services, it has a TSR of 103% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Marlin Business Services shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 103% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 2%. 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that Marlin Business Services is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those make us uncomfortable...
Marlin Business Services 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. 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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