In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term American Woodmark Corporation (NASDAQ:AMWD) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 12% in three years, versus a market return of about 61%. It's down 27% in about a quarter. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.
American Woodmark saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 3.0% per year, over the last three years. The share price decline of 4% is actually steeper than the EPS slippage. So it's likely that the EPS decline has disappointed the market, leaving investors hesitant to buy.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
A Different Perspective
Investors in American Woodmark had a tough year, with a total loss of 4.2%, against a market gain of about 39%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 0.3% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand American Woodmark better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that American Woodmark is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
Of course American Woodmark 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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