If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you’d hope to be making a profit. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the First American Financial Corporation (NYSE:FAF) share price is up 31% in the last five years, that’s less than the market return. Looking at the last year alone, the stock is up 7.2%.
While this past week has detracted from the company’s five-year return, let’s look at the recent trends of the underlying business and see if the gains have been in alignment.
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 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).
First American Financial’s earnings per share are down 16% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
Essentially, it doesn’t seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn’t seem to correlate with the change in share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics.
On the other hand, First American Financial’s revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 6.5% over the last five years. It’s quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
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 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. In the case of First American Financial, it has a TSR of 55% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
First American Financial provided a TSR of 11% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, that’s still a gain, and it’s actually better than the average return of 9% over half a decade This suggests the company might be improving over time. 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. Case in point: We’ve spotted 2 warning signs for First American Financial you should be aware of.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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.