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Crown Holdings' (NYSE:CCK) investors will be pleased with their decent 71% return over the last five years

If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But you can do a lot better than that by buying good quality businesses for attractive prices. For example, the Crown Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CCK) share price is up 69% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up just 1.9% in the last year.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

View our latest analysis for Crown Holdings

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.

During five years of share price growth, Crown Holdings actually saw its EPS drop 22% per year.

Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.

The modest 0.9% dividend yield is unlikely to be propping up the share price. On the other hand, Crown Holdings' revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 4.6% over the last five years. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. If you are thinking of buying or selling Crown Holdings stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst 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. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Crown Holdings' TSR for the last 5 years was 71%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Crown Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 2.5% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. However, that falls short of the 11% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. 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. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Crown Holdings (1 can't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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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