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What Type Of Returns Would Atlas' (NYSE:ATCO) Shareholders Have Received Over The Course Of The Last Five Years?

Simply Wall St
·3 mins read

While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Atlas Corp. (NYSE:ATCO) share price up 30% in a single quarter. But over the last half decade, the stock has not performed well. After all, the share price is down 45% in that time, significantly under-performing the market.

View our latest analysis for Atlas

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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).

Atlas became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline.

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

It is of course excellent to see how Atlas has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling Atlas stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Atlas the TSR over the last 5 years was -22%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Atlas shareholders are down 12% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 23%. 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 4% 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Atlas (at least 2 which don't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Of course Atlas may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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@simplywallst.com.