Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) shareholder returns have been , earning 29% in 5 years

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 21, 2022
NYSE:SON
Source: Shutterstock

The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market. But Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 11% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 6.9% in the last year.

The past week has proven to be lucrative for Sonoco Products investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's five-year performance.

View our latest analysis for Sonoco Products

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 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 five years of share price growth, Sonoco Products actually saw its EPS drop 23% per year.

Since the EPS are down strongly, it seems highly unlikely market participants are looking at EPS to value the company. Given that EPS is down, but the share price is up, it seems clear the market is focussed on other aspects of the business, at the moment.

We are not particularly impressed by the annual compound revenue growth of 2.4% over five years. So why is the share price up? It's not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company's progress over time might yield answers.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:SON Earnings and Revenue Growth March 21st 2022

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Sonoco Products will earn in the future (free 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Sonoco Products the TSR over the last 5 years was 29%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Sonoco Products shareholders are down 4.2% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 6.0%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 5%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Sonoco Products that you should be aware of.

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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