For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term CDK Global, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDK) shareholders, since the share price is down 33% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 34%. And the share price decline continued over the last week, dropping some 7.1%. But this could be related to the soft market, which is down about 5.3% in the same period.
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.
Although the share price is down over three years, CDK Global actually managed to grow EPS by 16% per year in that time. 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). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.
The modest 1.4% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. With revenue flat over three years, it seems unlikely that the share price is reflecting the top line. There doesn't seem to be any clear correlation between the fundamental business metrics and the share price. That could mean that the stock was previously overrated, or it could spell opportunity now.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that CDK Global has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on CDK Global
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. As it happens, CDK Global's TSR for the last 3 years was -31%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in CDK Global had a tough year, with a total loss of 15% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 13%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 1.7% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand CDK Global better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for CDK Global that you should be aware of.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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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