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Shareholders Of Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) Must Be Happy With Their 86% Return

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·3 min read
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If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:DLR) share price is up 56% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up a respectable 5.3% in the last year.

View our latest analysis for Digital Realty Trust

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 five years of share price growth, Digital Realty Trust actually saw its EPS drop 8.4% per year.

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.

In contrast revenue growth of 14% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Digital Realty Trust is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

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

Digital Realty Trust is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. You can see what analysts are predicting for Digital Realty Trust in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Digital Realty Trust's TSR for the last 5 years was 86%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Digital Realty Trust shareholders are up 8.8% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. 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 13% over five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Digital Realty Trust better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 5 warning signs with Digital Realty Trust (at least 1 which is concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.

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