Nasdaq-Listed Companies

Investors in Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) have made a stellar return of 198% over the past five years

When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) which saw its share price drive 165% higher over five years. It's also good to see the share price up 16% over the last quarter.

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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).

Over half a decade, Costco Wholesale managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 22% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growthNasdaqGS:COST Earnings Per Share Growth August 13th 2021

We know that Costco Wholesale has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Costco Wholesale's TSR for the last 5 years was 198%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Costco Wholesale shareholders have received returns of 37% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the general market return. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 24% per year. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Costco Wholesale better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Costco Wholesale is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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 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.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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