These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, the Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) share price is 72% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 41% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. Unfortunately the longer term returns are not so good, with the stock falling 13% in the last three years.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
Over the last twelve months, Apogee Enterprises actually shrank its EPS by 74%.
So we don't think that investors are paying too much attention to EPS. Therefore, it seems likely that investors are putting more weight on metrics other than EPS, at the moment.
Apogee Enterprises' revenue actually dropped 11% over last year. So using a snapshot of key business metrics doesn't give us a good picture of why the market is bidding up the stock.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Apogee Enterprises' TSR for the last year was 77%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Apogee Enterprises shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 77% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 1.3% per year over the last half decade. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Apogee Enterprises that you should be aware of.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.
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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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