Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the GATX Corporation (NYSE:GATX) share price is up 100% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. It's fair to say the stock has continued its long term trend in the last year, over which it has risen 34%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
GATX's earnings per share are down 4.5% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
It is not great to see that revenue has dropped by 3.0% per year over five years. So it seems one might have to take closer look at earnings and revenue trends to see how they might influence the share price.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
If you are thinking of buying or selling GATX stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for GATX the TSR over the last 5 years was 127%, 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
GATX's TSR for the year was broadly in line with the market average, at 38%. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 18% per year. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand GATX better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - GATX has 2 warning signs (and 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) we think you should know about.
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 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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