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While Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 15% in the last quarter. In contrast the stock is up over the last three years. In that time, it is up 39%, which isn't bad, but not amazing either.
In light of the stock dropping 5.0% in the past week, we want to investigate the longer term story, and see if fundamentals have been the driver of the company's positive three-year return.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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 three years of share price growth, Whirlpool achieved compound earnings per share growth of 115% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 12% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 5.87.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It is of course excellent to see how Whirlpool has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. In the case of Whirlpool, it has a TSR of 53% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Whirlpool shareholders are down 24% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 12%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 3%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that Whirlpool is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is concerning...
Of course Whirlpool 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.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.