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In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Ituran Location and Control Ltd. (NASDAQ:ITRN) shareholders, since the share price is down 31% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 69%. Even worse, it's down 13% in about a month, which isn't fun at all. We do note, however, that the broader market is down 8.9% in that period, and this may have weighed on the share price.
With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During five years of share price growth, Ituran Location and Control moved from a loss to profitability. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.
With revenue flat over three years, it seems unlikely that the share price is reflecting the top line. We're not entirely sure why the share price is dropped, but it does seem likely investors have become less optimistic about the business.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that Ituran Location and Control has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Ituran Location and Control will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Ituran Location and Control, it has a TSR of -24% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Ituran Location and Control shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 26% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 0.8% per year over five years. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Ituran Location and Control .
We will like Ituran Location and Control better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.