Investing in Carlton Investments (ASX:CIN) a year ago would have delivered you a 15% gain

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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. For example, the Carlton Investments Limited (ASX:CIN) share price is up 12% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market return of around 3.9% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! Having said that, the longer term returns aren’t so impressive, with stock gaining just 5.7% in three years.

Let’s take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they’ve been consistent with shareholders returns.

View our latest analysis for Carlton Investments

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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During the last year Carlton Investments grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 14%. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 12% increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time. It makes intuitive sense that the share price and EPS would grow at similar rates.

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

earnings-per-share-growth

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Carlton Investments’ earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Carlton Investments, it has a TSR of 15% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that Carlton Investments has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 15% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 4% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Carlton Investments better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we’ve spotted with Carlton Investments .

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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

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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.