Did Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s (NASDAQ:MLCO) Share Price Deserve to Gain 55%?

By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. Just take a look at Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (NASDAQ:MLCO), which is up 55%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 38% (not including dividends).

View our latest analysis for Melco Resorts & Entertainment

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

During three years of share price growth, Melco Resorts & Entertainment achieved compound earnings per share growth of 55% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 16% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NasdaqGS:MLCO Past and Future Earnings, April 18th 2019
NasdaqGS:MLCO Past and Future Earnings, April 18th 2019

It is of course excellent to see how Melco Resorts & Entertainment has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. 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). 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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, it has a TSR of 76% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Melco Resorts & Entertainment had a tough year, with a total loss of 16% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 8.2%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 3.0% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how Melco Resorts & Entertainment scores on these 3 valuation metrics.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.