The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For instance, the price of Netwealth Group Limited (ASX:NWL) stock is up an impressive 103% over the last five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 11% gain in the last three months. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 9.4% 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.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Over half a decade, Netwealth Group managed to grow its earnings per share at 25% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 15% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock. Of course, with a P/E ratio of 56.15, the market remains optimistic.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Dive deeper into Netwealth Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Netwealth Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Netwealth Group, it has a TSR of 118% for the last 5 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
While the broader market gained around 12% in the last year, Netwealth Group shareholders lost 13% (even including dividends). Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 17% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you would like to research Netwealth Group in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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.
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