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Those who invested in Bel Fuse (NASDAQ:BELF.A) a year ago are up 41%

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A diverse portfolio of stocks will always have winners and losers. But if you're going to beat the market overall, you need to have individual stocks that outperform. One such company is Bel Fuse Inc. (NASDAQ:BELF.A), which saw its share price increase 39% in the last year, slightly above the market return of around 34% (not including dividends). Unfortunately the longer term returns are not so good, with the stock falling 30% in the last three years.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

Check out our latest analysis for Bel Fuse

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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).

Bel Fuse went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.

When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action.

We doubt the modest 1.6% dividend yield is doing much to support the share price. We think that the revenue growth of 5.4% could have some investors interested. Many businesses do go through a phase where they have to forgo some profits to drive business development, and sometimes its for the best.

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

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Bel Fuse

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Bel Fuse's TSR for the last 1 year was 41%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Bel Fuse shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 41% over the last year. That's including the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 4% per year over five years. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Bel Fuse better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Bel Fuse (1 is a bit unpleasant) that you should be aware of.

But note: Bel Fuse may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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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