Those who invested in Canadian National Railway (TSE:CNR) five years ago are up 90%
Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, the Canadian National Railway Company (TSE:CNR) share price is up 74% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 28% (ignoring dividends).
So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 5 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.
See our latest analysis for Canadian National Railway
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 five years of share price growth, Canadian National Railway achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 1.0% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 12% 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. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Canadian National Railway'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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Canadian National Railway the TSR over the last 5 years was 90%, 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
While it's never nice to take a loss, Canadian National Railway shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 1.9% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 9.1%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 14% for each year. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Canadian National Railway better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Canadian National Railway you should be aware of.
Canadian National Railway 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 Canadian 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.
Canadian National Railway
Canadian National Railway Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in rail and related transportation business.
Average dividend payer with acceptable track record.