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 Sysco Corporation (NYSE:SYY) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 54% over five years, which is below the market return. However, more recent buyers should be happy with the increase of 41% over the last year.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Sysco's earnings per share are down 11% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years. The impact of extraordinary items on earnings, in the last year, partially explain the diversion.
Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.
It is not great to see that revenue has dropped by 0.2% per year over five years. It certainly surprises us that the share price is up, but perhaps a closer examination of the data will yield answers.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Take a more thorough look at Sysco's financial health with this free 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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Sysco the TSR over the last 5 years was 73%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Sysco's TSR for the year was broadly in line with the market average, at 44%. Most would be happy with a gain, and it helps that the year's return is actually better than the average return over five years, which was 12%. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Sysco (including 1 which is potentially serious) .
But note: Sysco may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
When trading Sysco or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.