NL Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NL) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 18% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been pleasing. In fact, the company's share price bested the return of its market index in that time, posting a gain of 70%.
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
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.
NL Industries was able to grow its EPS at 35% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. The average annual share price increase of 19% is actually lower than the EPS growth. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 6.25 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. 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. In the case of NL Industries, it has a TSR of 96% for the last 3 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
It's nice to see that NL Industries shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 27% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 7% per year over the last half decade. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with NL Industries (including 1 which is a bit concerning) .
We will like NL Industries 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.
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.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here