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Earnings growth of 4.6% over 3 years hasn't been enough to translate into positive returns for Kennedy-Wilson Holdings (NYSE:KW) shareholders

·4 min read

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Kennedy-Wilson Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:KW) shareholders, since the share price is down 21% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 36%. Even worse, it's down 12% in about a month, which isn't fun at all. We do note, however, that the broader market is down 7.2% in that period, and this may have weighed on the share price.

Given the past week has been tough on shareholders, let's investigate the fundamentals and see what we can learn.

View our latest analysis for Kennedy-Wilson Holdings

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Kennedy-Wilson Holdings actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 14% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.

Given the healthiness of the dividend payments, we doubt that they've concerned the market. Kennedy-Wilson Holdings has maintained its top line over three years, so we doubt that has shareholders worried. So it might be worth looking at how revenue growth over time, in greater detail.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Kennedy-Wilson Holdings

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 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. We note that for Kennedy-Wilson Holdings the TSR over the last 3 years was -8.4%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

While it's never nice to take a loss, Kennedy-Wilson Holdings shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 12% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 15%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 3% for each year. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Kennedy-Wilson Holdings you should be aware of, and 2 of them make us uncomfortable.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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