We think all investors should try to buy and hold high quality multi-year winners. And we've seen some truly amazing gains over the years. Don't believe it? Then look at the Focusrite Plc (LON:TUNE) share price. It's 325% higher than it was five years ago. If that doesn't get you thinking about long term investing, we don't know what will. On top of that, the share price is up 16% in about a quarter.
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 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).
Over half a decade, Focusrite managed to grow its earnings per share at 3.6% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 34% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 54.69.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Focusrite's TSR for the last 5 years was 342%, 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 Focusrite has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 44% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 35% 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. 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 3 warning signs for Focusrite you should be aware of.
We will like Focusrite 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 GB exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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