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Investors in Nielsen Holdings (NYSE:NLSN) have unfortunately lost 48% over the last five years

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Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE:NLSN), since the last five years saw the share price fall 56%. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 19% in the last 90 days.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

See our latest analysis for Nielsen Holdings

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.

Nielsen Holdings became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.

The modest 1.2% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. The revenue decline of 1.8% isn't too bad. But if the market expected durable top line growth, then that could explain the share price weakness.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for Nielsen Holdings in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Nielsen Holdings, it has a TSR of -48% for the last 5 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 good to see that Nielsen Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 40% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 8% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. 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 learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Nielsen Holdings (including 1 which can't be ignored) .

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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. 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.

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