The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don’t use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. For example, the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) share price has soared 164% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 17% gain in the last three months. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 18% in 90 days).
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
During the last half decade, World Wrestling Entertainment became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it’s worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the World Wrestling Entertainment share price is up 119% in the last three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 74% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 30% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of World Wrestling Entertainment’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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, World Wrestling Entertainment’s TSR for the last 5 years was 187%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
World Wrestling Entertainment shareholders are down 36% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 9.2%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 23% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for World Wrestling Entertainment you should know about.
But note: World Wrestling Entertainment 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 US exchanges.
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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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