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GlobalData Plc (LON:DATA) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 12% in the last quarter. But that scarcely detracts from the really solid long term returns generated by the company over five years. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 131% in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. Ultimately business performance will determine whether the stock price continues the positive long term trend. Unfortunately not all shareholders will have held it for the long term, so spare a thought for those caught in the 27% decline over the last twelve months.
Since the long term performance has been good but there's been a recent pullback of 7.1%, let's check if the fundamentals match the share price.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 the last half decade, GlobalData became profitable. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It is of course excellent to see how GlobalData has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, GlobalData's TSR for the last 5 years was 148%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in GlobalData had a tough year, with a total loss of 26% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 1.8%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 20%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand GlobalData better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - GlobalData has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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 GB exchanges.
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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.