By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, The Swatch Group AG (VTX:UHR) shareholders have seen the share price rise 65% over three years, well in excess of the market return (19%, not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 27% in the last year , including dividends .
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
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 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).
During three years of share price growth, Swatch Group achieved compound earnings per share growth of 3.2% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 18% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. It's not unusual to see the market 're-rate' a stock, after a few years of growth.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Dive deeper into Swatch Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Swatch Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. As it happens, Swatch Group's TSR for the last 3 years was 74%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Swatch Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 27% over one year. And that does include the dividend. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 5% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Swatch Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
But note: Swatch Group 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 Swiss exchanges.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
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