Should Dana (NYSE:DAN) Be Disappointed With Their 38% Profit?

You can receive the average market return by buying a low-cost index fund. But you can make superior returns by picking better-than average stocks. Notably, the Dana Incorporated (NYSE:DAN) share price has gained 38% in three years, which is better than the average market return. In contrast, the stock is actually down 29% in the last year, suggesting a lack of positive momentum.

View our latest analysis for Dana

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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During three years of share price growth, Dana achieved compound earnings per share growth of 45% per year. The average annual share price increase of 11% is actually lower than the EPS growth. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. We’d venture the lowish P/E ratio of 6.27 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:DAN Past and Future Earnings, March 11th 2019
NYSE:DAN Past and Future Earnings, March 11th 2019

We know that Dana has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Dana, it has a TSR of 45% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 0.5% in the twelve months, Dana shareholders did even worse, losing 28% (even including dividends). 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. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 2.1% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.