While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Core-Mark Holding Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:CORE) share price up 11% in a single quarter. But over the last half decade, the stock has not performed well. After all, the share price is down 29% in that time, significantly under-performing the market.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.
While the share price declined over five years, Core-Mark Holding Company actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 5.4% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.
Because of the sharp contrast between the EPS growth rate and the share price growth, we're inclined to look to other metrics to understand the changing market sentiment around the stock.
The modest 1.7% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. Revenue is actually up 8.7% over the time period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Core-Mark Holding Company the TSR over the last 5 years was -24%, 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
Core-Mark Holding Company shareholders are up 3.6% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it is certainly better than the yearly loss of about 4% endured over half a decade. So this might be a sign the business has turned its fortunes around. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Core-Mark Holding Company that you should be aware of.
But note: Core-Mark Holding Company 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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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. 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.
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