Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. 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 Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA), since the last five years saw the share price fall 49%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 13% in the last three months. However, one could argue that the price has been influenced by the general market, which is down 16% in the same timeframe.
Now let’s have a look at the company’s fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Walgreens Boots Alliance 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 might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The steady dividend doesn’t really explain why the share price is down. While it’s not completely obvious why the share price is down, a closer look at the company’s history might help explain it.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Walgreens Boots Alliance is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Walgreens Boots Alliance the TSR over the last 5 years was -40%, 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 the broader market lost about 9.8% in the twelve months, Walgreens Boots Alliance shareholders did even worse, losing 17% (even including dividends). However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there’s a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Walgreens Boots Alliance better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we’ve identified 1 warning sign for Walgreens Boots Alliance that you should be aware of.
Of course Walgreens Boots Alliance may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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.