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When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of Eaton Corporation plc (NYSE:ETN) stock is up an impressive 127% over the last five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 15% gain in the last three months. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 14% in the last three months.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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).
Eaton's earnings per share are down 4.7% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Therefore, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.
The revenue growth of 0.09% per year hardly seems impressive. So why is the share price up? It's not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company's progress over time might yield answers.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Eaton stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst 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 Eaton the TSR over the last 5 years was 169%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Eaton shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 28% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 22% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Even so, be aware that Eaton is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
Eaton is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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