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Stantec (TSE:STN) shareholders have earned a 32% CAGR over the last five years

When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. Long term Stantec Inc. (TSE:STN) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 269% in five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 13% gain in the last three months. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 6.4% in 90 days).

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Stantec

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

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Over half a decade, Stantec managed to grow its earnings per share at 14% a 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. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Stantec'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. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Stantec's TSR for the last 5 years was 295%, 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 Stantec has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 51% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 32%. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Stantec better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Stantec is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

Stantec is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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