Investors in National Presto Industries (NYSE:NPK) have unfortunately lost 4.1% over the last five years

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn't blame long term National Presto Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NPK) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 29% over a half decade.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

See our latest analysis for National Presto Industries

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. 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.

During the five years over which the share price declined, National Presto Industries' earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 14% each year. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 7% compound annual share price fall. So the market may previously have expected a drop, or else it expects the situation will improve.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. We note that for National Presto Industries the TSR over the last 5 years was -4.1%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that National Presto Industries returned a loss of 9.3% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 14%. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it's worse than the annualised loss of 0.8% over the last half decade. While some investors do well specializing in buying companies that are struggling (but nonetheless undervalued), don't forget that Buffett said that 'turnarounds seldom turn'. 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. Take risks, for example - National Presto Industries has 2 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

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 US 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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