While VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 11% in the last quarter. In contrast, the return over three years has been impressive. Indeed, the share price is up a very strong 104% in that time. After a run like that some may not be surprised to see prices moderate. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
During three years of share price growth, VMware achieved compound earnings per share growth of 83% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 27% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 9.77 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It is of course excellent to see how VMware has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between VMware's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. VMware hasn't been paying dividends, but its TSR of 146% exceeds its share price return of 104%, implying it has either spun-off a business, or raised capital at a discount; thereby providing additional value to shareholders.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that VMware shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 25% over one year. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 15% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.