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Those Who Purchased Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) Shares Three Years Ago Have A 44% Loss To Show For It

Simply Wall St

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Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 14% in the last month. But that cannot eclipse the less-than-impressive returns over the last three years. Truth be told the share price declined 44% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.

See our latest analysis for Acuity Brands

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Acuity Brands actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 11% 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. 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.

The modest 0.4% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. Revenue is actually up 6.7% over the three years, so the share price drop doesn't seem to hinge on revenue, either. This analysis is just perfunctory, but it might be worth researching Acuity Brands more closely, as sometimes stocks fall unfairly. This could present an opportunity.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:AYI Income Statement, July 2nd 2019

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Acuity Brands shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 21% over one year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 3.7%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Before forming an opinion on Acuity Brands you might want to consider these 3 valuation metrics.

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.

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.