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Those who invested in PCTEL (NASDAQ:PCTI) three years ago are up 37%

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Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But in any diversified portfolio of stocks, you'll see some that fall short of the average. For example, the PCTEL, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCTI) share price return of 22% over three years lags the market return in the same period. At least the stock price is up over the last year, albeit only by 2.1%.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 3 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

See our latest analysis for PCTEL

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 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).

During three years of share price growth, PCTEL achieved compound earnings per share growth of 0.7% per year. In comparison, the 7% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. This indicates that the market is feeling more optimistic on the stock, after the last few years of progress. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 50.57.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

This free interactive report on PCTEL's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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 PCTEL, it has a TSR of 37% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

PCTEL provided a TSR of 5.6% 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 5% over half a decade It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand PCTEL better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for PCTEL you should be aware of.

But note: PCTEL may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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