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Investors in Reckitt Benckiser Group (LON:RKT) have unfortunately lost 3.5% over the last five years

The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (LON:RKT), since the last five years saw the share price fall 16%.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Reckitt Benckiser Group

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.

Reckitt Benckiser Group became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

Revenue is actually up 4.4% over the time period. A more detailed examination of the revenue and earnings may or may not explain why the share price languishes; there could be an opportunity.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Reckitt Benckiser Group

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Reckitt Benckiser Group, it has a TSR of -3.5% for the last 5 years. 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

Reckitt Benckiser Group shareholders are down 6.8% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the market return of -6.2%. So last year was actually even worse than the last five years, which cost shareholders 0.7% per year. It will probably take a substantial improvement in the fundamental performance for the company to reverse this trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Reckitt Benckiser Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Reckitt Benckiser Group you should be aware of.

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 GB 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.

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