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If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Calavo Growers, Inc. (NASDAQ:CVGW) share price is up 45% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. The last year has been disappointing, with the stock price down 17% in that time.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Calavo Growers' earnings per share are down 8.6% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
We doubt the modest 1.6% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. On the other hand, Calavo Growers' revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 7.2% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Calavo Growers will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. We note that for Calavo Growers the TSR over the last 5 years was 55%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Calavo Growers had a tough year, with a total loss of 15% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 26%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 9%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Calavo Growers you should be aware of.
But note: Calavo Growers 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.
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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