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The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, the Minerals Technologies Inc. (NYSE:MTX) share price is 81% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 42% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 6.4% in the last three years.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
Over the last twelve months, Minerals Technologies actually shrank its EPS by 12%.
This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
We are skeptical of the suggestion that the 0.3% dividend yield would entice buyers to the stock. Unfortunately Minerals Technologies' fell 7.6% over twelve months. So using a snapshot of key business metrics doesn't give us a good picture of why the market is bidding up the stock.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
If you are thinking of buying or selling Minerals Technologies stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Minerals Technologies has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 81% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 7% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Minerals Technologies better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Minerals Technologies you should be aware of.
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.
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.
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