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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. Long term Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 137% in five years.
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.
Over half a decade, Northrop Grumman managed to grow its earnings per share at 16% a year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 19% per year. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Indeed, it would appear the share price is reacting to the EPS.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Northrop Grumman's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Northrop Grumman the TSR over the last 5 years was 158%, 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 the broader market gained around 11% in the last year, Northrop Grumman shareholders lost 10% (even including dividends). 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 21%, 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. If you would like to research Northrop Grumman in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you are like me, then you will 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.
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 email@example.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.