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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, Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) shareholders have seen the share price rise 67% over three years, well in excess of the market return (24%, not including dividends).
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 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.
Horizon Oil became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
A Different Perspective
Horizon Oil shareholders are down 8.0% for the year, but the market itself is up 12%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 19% doled out over the last five years. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. You could get a better understanding of Horizon Oil's growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: Horizon Oil 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 AU exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.