The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For instance, the price of Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX) stock is up an impressive 101% over the last five years.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Becton Dickinson's earnings per share are down 10% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.
We doubt the modest 1.2% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. In contrast revenue growth of 14% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Becton Dickinson is growing, a real positive. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Becton Dickinson is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. If you are thinking of buying or selling Becton Dickinson stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst consensus estimates for future profits.
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, Becton Dickinson's TSR for the last 5 years was 117%, 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
Becton Dickinson shareholders gained a total return of 2.4% during the year. But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 17% a year, over half a decade) look better. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. Before spending more time on Becton Dickinson it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.