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Anglo American's (LON:AAL) investors will be pleased with their splendid 193% return over the last five years

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  • AAUKF
  • NGLOY

When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is Anglo American plc (LON:AAL) which saw its share price drive 130% higher over five years. It's down 1.6% in the last seven days.

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 Anglo American

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

During the last half decade, Anglo American became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. Indeed, the Anglo American share price has gained 81% in three years. During the same period, EPS grew by 32% each year. This EPS growth is higher than the 22% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 6.91.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Anglo American'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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Anglo American the TSR over the last 5 years was 193%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Anglo American shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 44% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 24% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. 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. Take risks, for example - Anglo American has 2 warning signs (and 1 which can't be ignored) we think you should know about.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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