Investing in Aura Minerals (TSE:ORA) five years ago would have delivered you a 980% gain

While Aura Minerals Inc. (TSE:ORA) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn’t had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 24% in the last quarter. But over five years returns have been remarkably great. Indeed, the share price is up a whopping 826% in that time. So we don’t think the recent decline in the share price means its story is a sad one. The most important thing for savvy investors to consider is whether the underlying business can justify the share price gain. It really delights us to see such great share price performance for investors.

Let’s take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they’ve been consistent with shareholders returns.

Check out our latest analysis for Aura Minerals

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 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 the last half decade, Aura Minerals became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it’s worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Aura Minerals share price is up 729% in the last three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 69% per year. Notably, the EPS growth has been slower than the annualised share price gain of 102% over three years. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth

We know that Aura Minerals has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. We note that for Aura Minerals the TSR over the last 5 years was 980%, 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

Aura Minerals shareholders are down 22% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 23%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 61%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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 3 warning signs for Aura Minerals that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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

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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.