For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term Neenah, Inc. (NYSE:NP) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 48% over a half decade. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 29% over the last twelve months. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 11% in the last three months. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 5.1% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.
While the last five years has been tough for Neenah shareholders, this past week has shown signs of promise. So let's look at the longer term fundamentals and see if they've been the driver of the negative returns.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Neenah has made a profit in the past. On the other hand, it reported a trailing twelve months loss, suggesting it isn't reliably profitable. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.
We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Neenah, it has a TSR of -40% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 6.0% in the last year, Neenah shareholders lost 26% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Neenah better, we need to consider many other factors. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Neenah (of which 2 are significant!) you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will 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.
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.