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Those who invested in Service Stream (ASX:SSM) a year ago are up 86%

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). For example, the Service Stream Limited (ASX:SSM) share price is up 81% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market return of around 4.0% (not including dividends). That's a solid performance by our standards! Having said that, the longer term returns aren't so impressive, with stock gaining just 22% in 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Service Stream

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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).

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During the last year Service Stream grew its earnings per share, moving from a loss to a profit.

When a company is just on the edge of profitability it can be well worth considering other metrics in order to more precisely gauge growth (and therefore understand share price movements).

We think that the revenue growth of 17% could have some investors interested. We do see some companies suppress earnings in order to accelerate revenue growth.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

We know that Service Stream has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Service Stream

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 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 Service Stream the TSR over the last 1 year was 86%, 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

It's nice to see that Service Stream shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 86% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 7% per year over five years. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Service Stream that you should be aware of before investing here.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on Australian 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.