By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. For example, LEM Holding SA (VTX:LEHN) shareholders have seen the share price rise 47% over three years, well in excess of the market return (3.3%, not including dividends).
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.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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, LEM Holding achieved compound earnings per share growth of 13% per year. Notably, the 14% average annual share price gain matches up nicely with the EPS growth rate. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. Quite to the contrary, the share price has arguably reflected the EPS growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into LEM Holding's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of LEM Holding's 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). 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. As it happens, LEM Holding's TSR for the last 3 years was 59%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that LEM Holding shareholders are down 16% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 9.3%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 7%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for LEM Holding you should be aware of.
But note: LEM Holding may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CH 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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