Steel

BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) shareholders notch a 13% CAGR over 5 years, yet earnings have been shrinking

Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, long term BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) shareholders have enjoyed a 67% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 25% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 19% in the last year , including dividends .

The past week has proven to be lucrative for BlueScope Steel investors, so let’s see if fundamentals drove the company’s five-year performance.

Check out our latest analysis for BlueScope Steel

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.

During five years of share price growth, BlueScope Steel actually saw its EPS drop 10% per year.

This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn’t seem to correlate with the change in share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics.

On the other hand, BlueScope Steel’s revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 12% over the last five years. It’s quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growthearnings-and-revenue-growth

earnings-and-revenue-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. You can see what analysts are predicting for BlueScope Steel in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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 BlueScope Steel the TSR over the last 5 years was 85%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

We’re pleased to report that BlueScope Steel shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 19% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 13% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand BlueScope Steel better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for BlueScope Steel 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 Australian 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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