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Canadian Tire Corporation (TSE:CTC.A) shareholders have endured a 13% loss from investing in the stock three years ago

Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (TSE:CTC.A) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 22% in three years, versus a market return of about 23%.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

See our latest analysis for Canadian Tire Corporation

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

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During the three years that the share price fell, Canadian Tire Corporation's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 32% each year. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 8% compound annual share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have previously priced some of the drop in.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Canadian Tire Corporation's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. We note that for Canadian Tire Corporation the TSR over the last 3 years was -13%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 11% in the last year, Canadian Tire Corporation shareholders lost 15% (even including dividends). Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 2%, each year, over five years. 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. 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. Even so, be aware that Canadian Tire Corporation is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those doesn't sit too well with us...

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on Canadian 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.