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For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. (NYSE:SWM), since the last five years saw the share price fall 25%. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 24% in the last year. Furthermore, it's down 14% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
While the share price declined over five years, Schweitzer-Mauduit International actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 5.4% per year. 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). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past. Due to the lack of correlation between the EPS growth and the falling share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movement.
We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Schweitzer-Mauduit International has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus 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. As it happens, Schweitzer-Mauduit International's TSR for the last 5 years was -7.2%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Schweitzer-Mauduit International shareholders are down 20% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 7.8%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 1.5% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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 email@example.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.