Would I be crazy to buy Northern Star shares at almost $15?

Is it too late to generate golden returns from this high-flying stock?

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A woman in a business suit sits at her desk with gold bars in each hand while she kisses one bar with her eyes closed. Her desk has another three gold bars stacked in front of her. symbolising the rising Northern Star share price

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Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) shares are having another positive session.

In morning trade, the gold miner's shares have climbed almost 2% to a new 52-week high of $14.94.

This means that its shares are now up approximately 19% since this time last year, which is more than double the market return over the same period.

But if you thought this market-beating performance was new, think again.

Northern Star shares are arguably one of the least talked about success stories on the Australian share market.

Over the last 15 years, the company has gone from being just a minnow to a titan of the gold sector. This has led to the gold miner's shares delivering an average total return of 58.85% per annum over the period.

To put this staggering return into context, a $5,000 investment in Northern Star shares back in 2009 would now be worth a whopping $5.2 million. That's not a typo.

And let's not forget the countless dividends it has paid out over the years.

Would I be crazy for buying Northern Star shares at $15?

Well, the first thing to acknowledge is that investing in Northern Star today is very different to 15 years ago. A $5,000 investment today is almost certainly not going to turn into $5 million after a decade and a half.

But that doesn't mean that some decent returns won't be coming for investors that jump in today.

For example, the team at Macquarie is feeling very bullish on the gold miner. Its analysts updated their near term commodity price forecasts last month and lifted their gold price assumptions through to 2028.

This led to the broker increasing its earnings estimates for Northern Star and ultimately its valuation.

Macquarie currently has an outperform rating and $17.00 price target (previously $16.00) on Northern Star's shares.

Based on its current share price, this implies potential upside of approximately 14% for investors over the next 12 months.

If the broker's recommendation proves accurate, a $5,000 investment today in the gold miner would turn into $5,700 in a year.

But the returns won't necessarily stop there. Macquarie is expecting Northern Star to pay dividends of 36.5 cents per share in FY 2024 and then 38.7 cents per share in FY 2025. This will mean dividend yields of 2.5% and 2.6%, respectively.

Combined, this would mean a total return 12-month of over 16% for investors. So, overall, it doesn't appear to be too late to buy high-flying Northern Star shares.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Macquarie Group. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Macquarie Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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