In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK), since the last five years saw the share price fall 35%. And it’s not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 24% in the last year. Even worse, it’s down 9.9% in about a month, which isn’t fun at all.
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 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.
In the last half decade McKesson saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. The recent extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it’s hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. But we would generally expect a lower price, given the situation.
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 McKesson’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 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. As it happens, McKesson’s TSR for the last 5 years was -33%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
McKesson shareholders are down 24% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 3.1%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7.7% over the last half decade. 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. You could get a better understanding of McKesson’s growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.