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Positive earnings growth hasn't been enough to get Medical Properties Trust (NYSE:MPW) shareholders a favorable return over the last year

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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. By comparison, an individual stock is unlikely to match market returns - and could well fall short. For example, that's what happened with Medical Properties Trust, Inc. (NYSE:MPW) over the last year - it's share price is down 24% versus a market decline of 17%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 11% in the last three years. In the last ninety days we've seen the share price slide 26%. However, one could argue that the price has been influenced by the general market, which is down 15% in the same timeframe.

The recent uptick of 7.8% could be a positive sign of things to come, so let's take a lot at historical fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Medical Properties Trust

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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the unfortunate twelve months during which the Medical Properties Trust share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 100%. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

The divergence between the EPS and the share price is quite notable, during the year. So it's well worth checking out some other metrics, too.

Medical Properties Trust's dividend seems healthy to us, so we doubt that the yield is a concern for the market. The revenue trend doesn't seem to explain why the share price is down. Unless, of course, the market was expecting a revenue uptick.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We know that Medical Properties Trust 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 Medical Properties Trust will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Medical Properties Trust, it has a TSR of -20% for the last 1 year. 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

While the broader market lost about 17% in the twelve months, Medical Properties Trust shareholders did even worse, losing 20% (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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 10%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Medical Properties Trust better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 6 warning signs for Medical Properties Trust (2 are a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you are like me, then you will 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.

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

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.