Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Capital Southwest Corporation (NASDAQ:CSWC) share price is 90% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 50% (not including dividends) in the same period. That's a solid performance by our standards! Also impressive, the stock is up 41% over three years, making long term shareholders happy, too.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Capital Southwest went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.
When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action.
Absent any improvement, we don't think a thirst for dividends is pushing up the Capital Southwest's share price. It seems far more likely that the 7.5% boost to the revenue over the last year, is making the difference. After all, it's not necessarily a bad thing if a business sacrifices profits today in pursuit of profit tomorrow (metaphorically speaking).
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Capital Southwest has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Capital Southwest the TSR over the last year was 115%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Capital Southwest shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 115% over one year. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 24% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 Capital Southwest is showing 6 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 3 of those shouldn't be ignored...
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 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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