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CSX's (NASDAQ:CSX) five-year earnings growth trails the stellar shareholder returns

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When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. Long term CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 238% in five years. It's also up 11% in about a month.

On the back of a solid 7-day performance, let's check what role the company's fundamentals have played in driving long term shareholder returns.

Check out our latest analysis for CSX

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, CSX achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 20% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 28% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We know that CSX has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for CSX the TSR over the last 5 years was 263%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

CSX's TSR for the year was broadly in line with the market average, at 29%. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 29% per year. Even if the share price growth slows down from here, there's a good chance that this is business worth watching in the long term. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for CSX you should be aware of.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.

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.

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