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If You Had Bought SpartanNash (NASDAQ:SPTN) Stock Three Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 63% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

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If you love investing in stocks you're bound to buy some losers. But the last three years have been particularly tough on longer term SpartanNash Company (NASDAQ:SPTN) shareholders. Regrettably, they have had to cope with a 63% drop in the share price over that period. And over the last year the share price fell 56%, so we doubt many shareholders are delighted. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 32% in the last 90 days.

See our latest analysis for SpartanNash

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).

During five years of share price growth, SpartanNash moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So it's worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.

Given the healthiness of the dividend payments, we doubt that they've concerned the market. Revenue has been pretty flat over three years, so that isn't an obvious reason shareholders would sell. A closer look at revenue and profit trends might yield insights.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NasdaqGS:SPTN Income Statement, July 5th 2019

We know that SpartanNash has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? If you are thinking of buying or selling SpartanNash 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. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of SpartanNash, it has a TSR of -59% for the last 3 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

SpartanNash shareholders are down 54% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 8.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 8.7% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. If you would like to research SpartanNash in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

But note: SpartanNash may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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.