By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. Just take a look at Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX), which is up 56%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 33% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 17% , including dividends .
The past week has proven to be lucrative for Alexander & Baldwin investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's three-year performance.
Check out our latest analysis for Alexander & Baldwin
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Alexander & Baldwin became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Alexander & Baldwin'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. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Alexander & Baldwin the TSR over the last 3 years was 74%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Alexander & Baldwin shareholders have received returns of 17% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the general market return. To take a positive view, the gain is pleasing, and it sure beats annualized TSR loss of 1.7%, which was endured over half a decade. While 'turnarounds seldom turn' there are green shoots for Alexander & Baldwin. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Alexander & Baldwin (including 1 which is a bit concerning) .
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 American 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.