Powell Industries (NASDAQ:POWL) shareholders have endured a 31% loss from investing in the stock three years ago

Powell Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:POWL) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 15% in the last quarter. But that cannot eclipse the less-than-impressive returns over the last three years. In fact, the share price is down 38% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return.

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.

View our latest analysis for Powell Industries

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

Powell Industries saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Due to the loss, it’s not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. However, we can say we’d expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-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. This free interactive report on Powell Industries’ earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. In the case of Powell Industries, it has a TSR of -31% 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

We regret to report that Powell Industries shareholders are down 26% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 21%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 3% per year over five years. 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 Powell Industries better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Powell Industries is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning…

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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.