Investing in Polar Capital Holdings (LON:POLR) five years ago would have delivered you a 247% gain

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Polar Capital Holdings plc (LON:POLR) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 15% in the last quarter. But that scarcely detracts from the really solid long term returns generated by the company over five years. It’s fair to say most would be happy with 163% the gain in that time. So while it’s never fun to see a share price fall, it’s important to look at a longer time horizon. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price.

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.

See our latest analysis for Polar Capital Holdings

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 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.

During five years of share price growth, Polar Capital Holdings achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 24% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 21% per year. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn’t morphed very much. Indeed, it would appear the share price is reacting to the EPS.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth

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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Polar Capital Holdings’ 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). 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. As it happens, Polar Capital Holdings’ TSR for the last 5 years was 247%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that Polar Capital Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 49% in the last twelve months. That’s including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 28%. 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. Even so, be aware that Polar Capital Holdings is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about…

Polar Capital Holdings is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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