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A Look At DCC's (LON:DCC) Share Price Returns

Simply Wall St
·4 min read

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term DCC plc (LON:DCC) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 30% in three years, versus a market decline of about 8.4%. And over the last year the share price fell 30%, so we doubt many shareholders are delighted. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 28% in the last 90 days.

See our latest analysis for DCC

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 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).

Although the share price is down over three years, DCC actually managed to grow EPS by 3.3% per year in that time. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.

It's pretty reasonable to suspect the market was previously to bullish on the stock, and has since moderated expectations. Looking to other metrics might better explain the share price change.

We note that, in three years, revenue has actually grown at a 7.7% annual rate, so that doesn't seem to be a reason to sell shares. It's probably worth investigating DCC further; while we may be missing something on this analysis, there might also be an opportunity.

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

DCC is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. If you are thinking of buying or selling DCC stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst consensus estimates for future profits.

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, DCC's TSR for the last 3 years was -26%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 12% in the twelve months, DCC shareholders did even worse, losing 28% (even including dividends). Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 1.1% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. Even so, be aware that DCC is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

We will like DCC 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 GB 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.