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Investing in McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) five years ago would have delivered you a 86% gain

These days it’s easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) share price is 65% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. Also positive is the 8.5% share price rise over the last year.

Now it’s worth having a look at the company’s fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

Check out our latest analysis for McDonald’s

To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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.

During five years of share price growth, McDonald’s achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 6.0% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 11% average annual increase in the share price. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of McDonald’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. 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. In the case of McDonald’s, it has a TSR of 86% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It’s nice to see that McDonald’s shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 11% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 13% per year, is even more impressive. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand McDonald’s better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 2 warning signs with McDonald’s , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

McDonald’s is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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

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