Buying a low-cost index fund will get you the average market return. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. For example, the Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE:WY) share price return of 45% over three years lags the market return in the same period. On the other hand, the more recent gain of 34% over a year is certainly pleasing.
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
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 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.
Weyerhaeuser was able to grow its EPS at 31% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. The average annual share price increase of 13% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 11.59.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Weyerhaeuser's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Weyerhaeuser's TSR for the last 3 years was 61%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Weyerhaeuser has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 38% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 8%. 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. Even so, be aware that Weyerhaeuser is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is concerning...
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.