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Did Service Corporation International's (NYSE:SCI) Share Price Deserve to Gain 96%?

Simply Wall St

Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. To wit, the Service Corporation International share price has climbed 96% in five years, easily topping the market return of 44% (ignoring dividends).

Check out our latest analysis for Service Corporation International

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.

During five years of share price growth, Service Corporation International achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 34% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 14% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NYSE:SCI Past and Future Earnings, November 19th 2019

It is of course excellent to see how Service Corporation International has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Service Corporation International, it has a TSR of 114% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Service Corporation International shareholders are down 0.7% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 18%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 16% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Before spending more time on Service Corporation International it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will 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 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.