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. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX) share price is up 19% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 7.6% in the last year.
Although Becton Dickinson has shed US$5.8b from its market cap this week, let's take a look at its longer term fundamental trends and see if they've driven returns.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Over half a decade, Becton Dickinson managed to grow its earnings per share at 14% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 4% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Becton Dickinson has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? This free interactive report on Becton Dickinson's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Becton Dickinson's TSR for the last 5 years was 31%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While it's never nice to take a loss, Becton Dickinson shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 3.9% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 22%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 6% for each year. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Becton Dickinson (of which 1 doesn't sit too well with us!) you should know about.
We will like Becton Dickinson better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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.
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