Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, long term Masco Corporation (NYSE:MAS) shareholders have enjoyed a 73% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 47% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 10% , including dividends .
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. 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).
Over half a decade, Masco managed to grow its earnings per share at 20% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 12% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Masco has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Masco will grow revenue in the future.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Masco the TSR over the last 5 years was 110%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Masco shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 10% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. However, that falls short of the 16% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. The pessimistic view would be that be that the stock has its best days behind it, but on the other hand the price might simply be moderating while the business itself continues to execute. If you would like to research Masco in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
We will like Masco 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 US 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.