Cato (NYSE:CATO) delivers shareholders splendid 156% return over 1 year, surging 10% in the last week alone

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 08, 2021
NYSE:CATO
Source: Shutterstock

Unless you borrow money to invest, the potential losses are limited. On the other hand, if you find a high quality business to buy (at the right price) you can more than double your money! Take, for example The Cato Corporation (NYSE:CATO). Its share price is already up an impressive 152% in the last twelve months. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 21% gain in the last three months. However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 7.7% in the last three years.

On the back of a solid 7-day performance, let's check what role the company's fundamentals have played in driving long term shareholder returns.

See our latest analysis for Cato

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.

During the last year Cato grew its earnings per share, moving from a loss to a profit.

When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action.

We think that the revenue growth of 12% could have some investors interested. We do see some companies suppress earnings in order to accelerate revenue growth.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:CATO Earnings and Revenue Growth November 9th 2021

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?

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Cato the TSR over the last 1 year was 156%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Cato shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 156% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 4% per year over five years. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Cato you should be aware of, and 1 of them is a bit unpleasant.

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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