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If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Cathay General Bancorp (NASDAQ:CATY) share price is 92% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 35% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! Zooming out, the stock is actually down 1.2% in the last three years.
So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Cathay General Bancorp was able to grow EPS by 16% in the last twelve months. This EPS growth is significantly lower than the 92% increase in the share price. This indicates that the market is now more optimistic about the stock.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Cathay General Bancorp's TSR for the last 1 year was 99%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Cathay General Bancorp shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 99% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 9%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Cathay General Bancorp that you should be aware of before investing here.
But note: Cathay General Bancorp 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 US 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.
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