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Those who invested in Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) five years ago are up 54%

If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market. But Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 47% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 21% in the last year.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

View our latest analysis for Ross Stores

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).

During five years of share price growth, Ross Stores achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 6.8% per year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 8% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. Indeed, it would appear the share price is reacting to the EPS.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We know that Ross Stores has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Ross Stores the TSR over the last 5 years was 54%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Ross Stores shareholders are down 20% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 16%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 9% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Ross Stores better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Ross Stores you should be aware of.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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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