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Can You Imagine How Cochlear's (ASX:COH) Shareholders Feel About The 86% Share Price Increase?

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When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) share price is up 86% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 33% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 25% , including dividends .

Check out our latest analysis for Cochlear

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 five years of share price growth, Cochlear actually saw its EPS drop 23% per year. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earning in the last twelve months.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

We doubt the modest 1.0% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. On the other hand, Cochlear's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 4.9% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Cochlear will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Cochlear's TSR for the last 5 years was 100%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Cochlear shareholders gained a total return of 25% during the year. But that was short of the market average. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 15% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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.

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.

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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