U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 11 mins

If You Had Bought SL Green Realty (NYSE:SLG) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 22% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in SL Green Realty Corp. (NYSE:SLG), since the last five years saw the share price fall 22%. It's down 2.0% in the last seven days.

Check out our latest analysis for SL Green Realty

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, SL Green Realty actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 0.3% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS. Given that EPS has increased, but the share price has fallen, it's fair to say that market sentiment around the stock has become more negative. Generally speaking, though, if the company can keep growing EPS then the share price will eventually follow.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:SLG Past and Future Earnings, May 14th 2019

We know that SL Green Realty has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think SL Green Realty will grow revenue in the future.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. In the case of SL Green Realty, it has a TSR of -10% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Investors in SL Green Realty had a tough year, with a total loss of 11% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 3.5%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 2.1% 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. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

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 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.