The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, the Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. (NYSE:ARI) share price is 66% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 46% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 9.6% lower than it was three years ago.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
During the last year Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance saw its earnings per share (EPS) increase strongly. We don't think the exact number is a good guide to the sustainable growth rate, but we do think this sort of increase is impressive. We are not surprised the share price is up. Strong growth like this can be evidence of a fundamental inflection point in the business, making it a good time to investigate the stock more closely.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance's TSR for the last year was 89%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 89% over one year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 12%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (at least 3 which shouldn't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you are like me, then you will 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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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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