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Earnings are growing at Kaman (NYSE:KAMN) but shareholders still don't like its prospects

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Kaman Corporation (NYSE:KAMN) shareholders, since the share price is down 50% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 30%. More recently, the share price has dropped a further 12% in a month. We do note, however, that the broader market is down 11% in that period, and this may have weighed on the share price.

Since Kaman has shed US$57m from its value in the past 7 days, let's see if the longer term decline has been driven by the business' economics.

Check out our latest analysis for Kaman

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

During five years of share price growth, Kaman moved from a loss to profitability. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.

We think that the revenue decline over three years, at a rate of 3.4% per year, probably had some shareholders looking to sell. After all, if revenue keeps shrinking, it may be difficult to find earnings growth in the future.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

We know that Kaman has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Kaman

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 Kaman the TSR over the last 3 years was -47%, 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

Although it hurts that Kaman returned a loss of 17% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 21%. Given the total loss of 8% per year over five years, it seems returns have deteriorated in the last twelve months. Whilst Baron Rothschild does tell the investor "buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own", buyers would need to examine the data carefully to be comfortable that the business itself is sound. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that Kaman is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

If you are like me, then you will 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.

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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