As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term Johnson Matthey Plc (LON:JMAT) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 14% in three years, versus a market return of about 18%.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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).
Although the share price is down over three years, Johnson Matthey actually managed to grow EPS by 9.0% per year in that time. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
It is a little bizarre to see the share price down, despite a strong improvement to earnings per share. So we'll have to take a look at other metrics to try to understand the price action.
We note that, in three years, revenue has actually grown at a 4.2% annual rate, so that doesn't seem to be a reason to sell shares. It's probably worth investigating Johnson Matthey further; while we may be missing something on this analysis, there might also be an opportunity.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Johnson Matthey is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. If you are thinking of buying or selling Johnson Matthey stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst consensus estimates for future profits.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. In the case of Johnson Matthey, it has a TSR of -7.0% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Johnson Matthey shareholders are up 5.4% for the year (even including dividends) . But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 3.3% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. If you would like to research Johnson Matthey in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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 email@example.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.