Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Chicago Rivet & Machine Co. (NYSEMKT:CVR) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 18%. That's well bellow the market return of 11%. Longer term shareholders haven't suffered as badly, since the stock is down a comparatively less painful 14% in three years. The silver lining is that the stock is up 1.7% in about a week.
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. 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.
Unhappily, Chicago Rivet & Machine had to report a 56% decline in EPS over the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 18% the share price fall. It may have been that the weak EPS was not as bad as some had feared.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
This free interactive report on Chicago Rivet & Machine's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Chicago Rivet & Machine the TSR over the last year was -15%, 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, Chicago Rivet & Machine shareholders lost 15% (even including dividends) . 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 0.3% 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. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at Chicago Rivet & Machine's dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.
Of course Chicago Rivet & Machine may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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.