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Those who invested in Hour Glass (SGX:AGS) five years ago are up 214%

It hasn't been the best quarter for The Hour Glass Limited (SGX:AGS) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 17% in that time. But in stark contrast, the returns over the last half decade have impressed. It's fair to say most would be happy with 156% the gain in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. The more important question is whether the stock is too cheap or too expensive today. Unfortunately not all shareholders will have held it for the long term, so spare a thought for those caught in the 23% decline over the last twelve months.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

See our latest analysis for Hour Glass

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.

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During five years of share price growth, Hour Glass 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. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
SGX:AGS Earnings Per Share Growth December 24th 2023

Dive deeper into Hour Glass' key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Hour Glass's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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 Hour Glass, it has a TSR of 214% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 0.7% in the twelve months, Hour Glass shareholders did even worse, losing 19% (even including dividends). Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 26%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Hour Glass that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Hour Glass may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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