The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn't blame long term Carrefour SA (EPA:CA) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 55% over a half decade. There was little comfort for shareholders in the last week as the price declined a further 1.6%.
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.
During the five years over which the share price declined, Carrefour's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 18% each year. The share price decline of 15% per year isn't as bad as the EPS decline. So the market may previously have expected a drop, or else it expects the situation will improve.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Carrefour has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
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. We note that for Carrefour the TSR over the last 5 years was -49%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Carrefour shareholders are down 14% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 11%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 8% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Carrefour that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Carrefour may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on FR 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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