The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 32%. That contrasts poorly with the market decline of 20%. At least the damage isn't so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 10% in that time. Even worse, it's down 13% in about a month, which isn't fun at all. However, we note the price may have been impacted by the broader market, which is down 9.0% in the same time period.
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.
View our latest analysis for Whirlpool
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Unfortunately Whirlpool reported an EPS drop of 60% for the last year. The share price fall of 32% isn't as bad as the reduction in earnings per share. It may have been that the weak EPS was not as bad as some had feared.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).NYSE:WHR Earnings Per Share Growth September 30th 2022
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Whirlpool's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Whirlpool, it has a TSR of -30% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Whirlpool shareholders are down 30% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 20%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 2% per year over five years. 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should be aware of the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Whirlpool .
Of course Whirlpool may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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.