Investing in W. P. Carey (NYSE:WPC) five years ago would have delivered you a 74% gain

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 23, 2022
NYSE:WPC
Source: Shutterstock

When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market. But W. P. Carey Inc. (NYSE:WPC) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 30% over five years, which is below the market return. Over the last twelve months the stock price has risen a very respectable 15%.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

Check out our latest analysis for W. P. Carey

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

W. P. Carey's earnings per share are down 3.0% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

So it's hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

We note that the dividend is higher than it was previously - always nice to see. Maybe dividend investors have helped support the share price. The revenue growth of about 9.6% per year might also encourage buyers.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:WPC Earnings and Revenue Growth March 23rd 2022

Take a more thorough look at W. P. Carey'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 W. P. Carey the TSR over the last 5 years was 74%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that W. P. Carey has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 22% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 12%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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. Even so, be aware that W. P. Carey is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those shouldn't be ignored...

But note: W. P. Carey 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.

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