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ManpowerGroup (NYSE:MAN) Shareholders Have Enjoyed A 27% Share Price Gain

Simply Wall St

Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. That's what has happened with the ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE:MAN) share price. It's up 27% over three years, but that is below the market return. Disappointingly, the share price is down 1.8% in the last year.

View our latest analysis for ManpowerGroup

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...' 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.

ManpowerGroup was able to grow its EPS at 11% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 8.4% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 10.77 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NYSE:MAN Past and Future Earnings, September 17th 2019

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. We note that for ManpowerGroup the TSR over the last 3 years was 35%, 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

ManpowerGroup shareholders gained a total return of 0.6% during the year. But that return falls short of the market. It's probably a good sign that the company has an even better long term track record, having provided shareholders with an annual TSR of 5.3% over five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of ManpowerGroup by clicking this link.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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 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. Thank you for reading.