The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But if you pick the right business to buy shares in, you can make more than you can lose. For example, the Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) share price had more than doubled in just one year - up 150%. It's also up 8.7% in about a month. However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 11% 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. 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.
During the last year Herman Miller saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop below zero. While some may see this as temporary, we're a skeptical bunch, and so we're a little surprised to see the share price go up. We might get a clue to explain the share price move by looking to other metrics.
We are skeptical of the suggestion that the 1.8% dividend yield would entice buyers to the stock. Unfortunately Herman Miller's fell 9.1% over twelve months. So using a snapshot of key business metrics doesn't give us a good picture of why the market is bidding up the stock.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Herman Miller stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit 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. As it happens, Herman Miller's TSR for the last year was 152%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Herman Miller has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 152% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 8%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Herman Miller better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Herman Miller (including 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) .
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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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