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Investors Who Bought Kaiser Aluminum (NASDAQ:KALU) Shares A Year Ago Are Now Down 32%

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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It's easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. Investors in Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (NASDAQ:KALU) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 32%. That contrasts poorly with the market return of -6.2%. At least the damage isn't so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 14% in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 31% in the last 90 days. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 17% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.

View our latest analysis for Kaiser Aluminum

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...' 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.

Unhappily, Kaiser Aluminum had to report a 30% decline in EPS over the last year. We note that the 32% share price drop is very close to the EPS drop. Given the lower EPS we might have expected investors to lose confidence in the stock, but that doesn't seemed to have happened. Instead, the change in the share price seems to reduction in earnings per share, alone.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NasdaqGS:KALU Past and Future Earnings April 16th 2020
NasdaqGS:KALU Past and Future Earnings April 16th 2020

Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Kaiser Aluminum's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. 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. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Kaiser Aluminum's TSR, which was a 30% drop over the last year, was not as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 6.2% in the twelve months, Kaiser Aluminum shareholders did even worse, losing 30% (even including dividends) . However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 0.3% per year over half a decade. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Kaiser Aluminum you should know about.

But note: Kaiser Aluminum 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.