American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 22% in the last quarter. On the bright side the returns have been quite good over the last half decade. Its return of 78% has certainly bested the market return!
In light of the stock dropping 12% in the past week, we want to investigate the longer term story, and see if fundamentals have been the driver of the company’s positive five-year return.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Over half a decade, American Express managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 12% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that American Express has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? You could check out this free report showing analyst revenue forecasts.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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 American Express the TSR over the last 5 years was 91%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While it’s certainly disappointing to see that American Express shares lost 10% throughout the year, that wasn’t as bad as the market loss of 18%. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 14%, each year, over five years. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand American Express better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We’ve spotted 3 warning signs for American Express 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 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.