Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But in any diversified portfolio of stocks, you'll see some that fall short of the average. That's what has happened with the Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) share price. It's up 35% over three years, but that is below the market return. On the other hand, the more recent gain of 28% over a year is certainly pleasing.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Emerson Electric was able to grow its EPS at 15% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 10% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Emerson Electric's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Emerson Electric the TSR over the last 3 years was 47%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Emerson Electric shareholders have received returns of 32% over twelve months (even including dividends) , which isn't far from the general market return. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 8.3% 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
Emerson Electric is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.