Investing in Lycopodium (ASX:LYL) five years ago would have delivered you a 160% gain

When we invest, we’re generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Lycopodium Limited (ASX:LYL) share price is up 97% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 24% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 18% 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Lycopodium

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 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).

During five years of share price growth, Lycopodium achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 24% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 15% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock. The reasonably low P/E ratio of 10.28 also suggests market apprehension.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Lycopodium’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Lycopodium’s TSR for the last 5 years was 160%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that Lycopodium has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 18% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 21% per year, is even more impressive. 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. Take risks, for example – Lycopodium has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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