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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But if you pick the right business to buy shares in, you can make more than you can lose. Take, for example Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA). Its share price is already up an impressive 129% in the last twelve months. In the last week shares have slid back 4.6%. Unfortunately the longer term returns are not so good, with the stock falling 30% in the last three years.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Over the last twelve months, Comerica actually shrank its EPS by 58%.
So we don't think that investors are paying too much attention to EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
Absent any improvement, we don't think a thirst for dividends is pushing up the Comerica's share price. Revenue actually dropped 27% over last year. Usually that correlates with a lower share price, but let's face it, the gyrations of the market are sometimes only as clear as mud.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. We note that for Comerica the TSR over the last year was 142%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Comerica shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 142% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 12%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Comerica better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Comerica is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
But note: Comerica 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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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