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Investors can buy low cost index fund if they want to receive the average market return. But in any diversified portfolio of stocks, you'll see some that fall short of the average. That's what has happened with the Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) share price. It's up 29% over three years, but that is below the market return. In the last year the stock has gained 7.0%.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Emerson Electric was able to grow its EPS at 1.5% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is lower than the 8.8% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Emerson Electric has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Emerson Electric 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 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. As it happens, Emerson Electric's TSR for the last 3 years was 41%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Emerson Electric shareholders are up 10% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 4.3% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. Before spending more time on Emerson Electric it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
But note: Emerson Electric 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 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.