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Investors in Diversified United Investment (ASX:DUI) have made a notable return of 88% over the past five years

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Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. To wit, the Diversified United Investment share price has climbed 58% in five years, easily topping the market return of 35% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 17% in the last year , including dividends .

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.

View our latest analysis for Diversified United Investment

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During five years of share price growth, Diversified United Investment actually saw its EPS drop 0.3% per year.

By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Therefore, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.

The revenue growth of 0.5% per year hardly seems impressive. So why is the share price up? It's not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company's progress over time might yield answers.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Diversified United Investment the TSR over the last 5 years was 88%, 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

Diversified United Investment provided a TSR of 17% over the last twelve months. But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 13% over half a decade This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Diversified United Investment better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Diversified United Investment (including 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) .

We will like Diversified United Investment better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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. 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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