Investing in Cogstate (ASX:CGS) three years ago would have delivered you a 794% gain

·3 min read

Cogstate Limited (ASX:CGS) shareholders might understandably be very concerned that the share price has dropped 34% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been spectacular. Indeed, the share price is up a whopping 786% in that time. So the recent fall doesn't do much to dampen our respect for the business. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price. Anyone who held for that rewarding ride would probably be keen to talk about it.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

See our latest analysis for Cogstate

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.

During three years of share price growth, Cogstate moved from a loss to profitability. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here.

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

We know that Cogstate has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between Cogstate's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Cogstate hasn't been paying dividends, but its TSR of 794% exceeds its share price return of 786%, implying it has either spun-off a business, or raised capital at a discount; thereby providing additional value to shareholders.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Cogstate shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 13% over one year. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 6%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Cogstate .

We will like Cogstate better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting