Shareholders of KLA (NASDAQ:KLAC) Must Be Delighted With Their 366% Total Return

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 20, 2021
NasdaqGS:KLAC

KLA Corporation (NASDAQ:KLAC) shareholders have seen the share price descend 11% over the month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been spectacular. To be precise, the stock price is 314% higher than it was five years ago, a wonderful performance by any measure. So we don't think the recent decline in the share price means its story is a sad one. Of course what matters most is whether the business can improve itself sustainably, thus justifying a higher price.

View our latest analysis for KLA

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

Over half a decade, KLA managed to grow its earnings per share at 21% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 33% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
NasdaqGS:KLAC Earnings Per Share Growth March 20th 2021

We know that KLA has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think KLA will grow revenue in the future.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of KLA, it has a TSR of 366% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that KLA has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 161% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 36%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand KLA better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for KLA that you should be aware of.

But note: KLA 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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