If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. But MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE:MDU) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 15% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up a respectable 7.1% in the last year.
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
Our analysis indicates that MDU is potentially undervalued!
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 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.
Over half a decade, MDU Resources Group managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.6% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 3% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
This free interactive report on MDU Resources Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 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. In the case of MDU Resources Group, it has a TSR of 33% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that MDU Resources Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 10% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 6%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for MDU Resources Group (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
We will like MDU Resources Group better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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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Find out whether MDU Resources Group is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis
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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.