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Badger Meter (NYSE:BMI) jumps 3.3% this week, though earnings growth is still tracking behind five-year shareholder returns

When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of Badger Meter, Inc. (NYSE:BMI) stock is up an impressive 112% over the last five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 29% gain in the last three months.

Since it's been a strong week for Badger Meter shareholders, let's have a look at trend of the longer term fundamentals.

View our latest analysis for Badger Meter

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.

Over half a decade, Badger Meter managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 16% per year. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Badger Meter's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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 Badger Meter, it has a TSR of 123% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that Badger Meter returned a loss of 4.1% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 14%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 17% for each year. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. Before spending more time on Badger Meter it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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