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Those who invested in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM) three years ago are up 230%

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Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE:SQM) shareholders have seen the share price descend 18% over the month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been very strong. In fact, the share price is up a full 203% compared to three years ago. After a run like that some may not be surprised to see prices moderate. The thing to consider is whether the underlying business is doing well enough to support the current price.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

See our latest analysis for Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile

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. 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.

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile was able to grow its EPS at 44% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 45% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that sentiment and expectations have not changed drastically. Au contraire, the share price change has arguably mimicked the EPS growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

It is of course excellent to see how Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. In the case of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, it has a TSR of 230% for the last 3 years. 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

We're pleased to report that Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 105% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 26% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile .

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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

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