The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ:JKHY) share price is 99% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. Over the last year the stock price is up, albeit only a modest 4.8%.
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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Over half a decade, Jack Henry & Associates managed to grow its earnings per share at 7.2% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 15% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Jack Henry & Associates' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 Jack Henry & Associates the TSR over the last 5 years was 111%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Jack Henry & Associates provided a TSR of 5.9% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. It's probably a good sign that the company has an even better long term track record, having provided shareholders with an annual TSR of 16% over five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
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. 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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