Investing in Exchange Income (TSE:EIF) three years ago would have delivered you a 74% gain

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Thanks in no small measure to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, it’s easy buy a low cost index fund, which should provide the average market return. But you can make better returns by buying undervalued shares. To wit, Exchange Income Corporation (TSE:EIF) shares are up 44% in three years, besting the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up a respectable 19% 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.

See our latest analysis for Exchange Income

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.

Over the last three years, Exchange Income failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 11% (annualized).

So we doubt that the market is looking to EPS for its main judge of the company’s value. Therefore, we think it’s worth considering other metrics as well.

Interestingly, the dividend has increased over time; so that may have given the share price a boost. Sometimes yield-chasing investors will flock to a company if they think the dividend can grow over time.

The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth

Exchange Income is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Exchange Income the TSR over the last 3 years was 74%, 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 Exchange Income shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 26% over one year. That’s including the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 7% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Exchange Income better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we’ve identified 4 warning signs for Exchange Income (1 is concerning) that you should be aware of.

But note: Exchange Income may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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