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0.2% earnings growth over 5 years has not materialized into gains for Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) shareholders over that period

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The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn't blame long term Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 51% over a half decade. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 34% over the last twelve months. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 14% in the last three months. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 18% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.

If the past week is anything to go by, investor sentiment for Nordstrom isn't positive, so let's see if there's a mismatch between fundamentals and the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Nordstrom

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.

Nordstrom became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

Arguably, the revenue drop of 3.7% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can't grow in the long term. That could explain the weak share price.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Nordstrom will earn in the future (free profit 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 Nordstrom the TSR over the last 5 years was -45%, 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

While the broader market lost about 20% in the twelve months, Nordstrom shareholders did even worse, losing 33% (even including dividends). 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8% 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. 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. Even so, be aware that Nordstrom is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

Nordstrom 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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