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Did Changing Sentiment Drive Kraft Heinz's (NASDAQ:KHC) Share Price Down A Worrying 60%?

Simply Wall St

The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 31% in the last quarter. But that is small recompense for the exasperating returns over three years. Indeed, the share price is down a tragic 60% in the last three years. So it's good to see it climbing back up. The rise has some hopeful, but turnarounds are often precarious.

See our latest analysis for Kraft Heinz

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.

Kraft Heinz saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.

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

NasdaqGS:KHC Past and Future Earnings, November 14th 2019

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Kraft Heinz's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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, Kraft Heinz's TSR for the last 3 years was -54%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

The last twelve months weren't great for Kraft Heinz shares, which cost holders 32% , including dividends , while the market was up about 16%. Of course the long term matters more than the short term, and even great stocks will sometimes have a poor year. The three-year loss of 23% per year isn't as bad as the last twelve months, suggesting that the company has not been able to convince the market it has solved its problems. Although Warren Buffett famously said he likes to 'buy when there is blood on the streets', he also focusses on high quality stocks with solid prospects. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.