Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 14% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been pleasing. It has returned a market beating 70% in that time.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Downer EDI's earnings per share are down 2.4% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
So it's hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Therefore, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.
In contrast revenue growth of 15% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Downer EDI is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that Downer EDI has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Downer EDI will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Downer EDI's TSR for the last 5 years was 115%, 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
Downer EDI provided a TSR of 6.5% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 17% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Downer EDI better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that Downer EDI is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
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Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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