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Volatility 101: Should Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) Shares Have Dropped 12%?

Simply Wall St

For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE:AAP) shareholders, since the share price is down 12% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 46%. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 8.7% in a month. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

Check out our latest analysis for Advance Auto Parts

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, Advance Auto Parts actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 0.2% 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.

Given that EPS is up and the share price is down, it seems clear the market is less excited about the business than it was. Having said that, if the EPS gains continue we'd expect the share price to improve, longer term.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NYSE:AAP Past and Future Earnings, December 8th 2019

Dive deeper into Advance Auto Parts's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Advance Auto Parts's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Different Perspective

Advance Auto Parts shareholders are down 7.6% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 21%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 0.5% 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. Before forming an opinion on Advance Auto Parts you might want to consider these 3 valuation metrics.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.