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Graco's (NYSE:GGG) five-year earnings growth trails the notable shareholder returns

·3-min read

Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. To wit, the Graco share price has climbed 72% in five years, easily topping the market return of 59% (ignoring dividends).

Since it's been a strong week for Graco shareholders, let's have a look at trend of the longer term fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Graco

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 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, Graco achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 37% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 11% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Graco's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Graco's TSR for the last 5 years was 83%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Graco shareholders are down 16% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 12%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 13%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how Graco scores on these 3 valuation metrics.

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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