One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, the InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) share price is up 74% in the last three years, clearly besting than the market return of around 14% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 5.4% in the last year, including dividends.
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While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 three years of share price growth, InterContinental Hotels Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 34% per year. Thus, it seems unlikely that the market is focussed on EPS growth at the moment. Therefore, we think it's worth considering other metrics as well.
Languishing at just 1.9%, we doubt the dividend is doing much to prop up the share price. It may well be that InterContinental Hotels Group revenue growth rate of 16% over three years has convinced shareholders to believe in a brighter future. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth, and maybe shareholder's faith in better days ahead will be rewarded.
You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).
InterContinental Hotels Group is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of InterContinental Hotels Group, it has a TSR of 102% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that InterContinental Hotels Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 5.4% over the last year. That's including the dividend. However, that falls short of the 20% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. If you would like to research InterContinental Hotels Group in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.