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If You Had Bought Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC) Stock Three Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 52% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (NYSE:MIC) shareholders, since the share price is down 52% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 47%. It's down 1.2% in the last seven days.

See our latest analysis for Macquarie Infrastructure

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During the three years that the share price fell, Macquarie Infrastructure's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 23% each year. The 22% average annual share price decline is remarkably close to the EPS decline. So it seems that investor expectations of the company are staying pretty steady, despite the disappointment. It seems like the share price is reflecting the declining earnings per share.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:MIC Past and Future Earnings, September 16th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Macquarie Infrastructure's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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. As it happens, Macquarie Infrastructure's TSR for the last 3 years was -37%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Macquarie Infrastructure had a tough year, with a total loss of 8.8% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 4.2%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 3.8% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Macquarie Infrastructure by clicking this link.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.