It hasn't been the best quarter for Palfinger AG (VIE:PAL) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 11% in that time. But at least the stock is up over the last three years. In that time, it is up 40%, which isn't bad, but not amazing either.
Although Palfinger has shed €56m from its market cap this week, let's take a look at its longer term fundamental trends and see if they've driven returns.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Palfinger became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that Palfinger has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Palfinger the TSR over the last 3 years was 47%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Palfinger shareholders gained a total return of 16% during the year. But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 3% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. 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. Take risks, for example - Palfinger has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AT 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.