Investing in IGM Financial (TSE:IGM) three years ago would have delivered you a 34% gain

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Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the IGM Financial Inc. (TSE:IGM) share price is up 12% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 9.1% in the last year.

So let’s assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 3 years and see if they’ve moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

View our latest analysis for IGM Financial

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

IGM Financial was able to grow its EPS at 8.6% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 4% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. We’d venture the lowish P/E ratio of 9.97 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

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

It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for IGM Financial the TSR over the last 3 years was 34%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Investors in IGM Financial had a tough year, with a total loss of 4.5% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 12%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 7% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.