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Kimberly-Clark's (NYSE:KMB) investors will be pleased with their respectable 31% return over the last five years

·3-min read

If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. But Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 11% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up just 1.1% in the last year.

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

Check out our latest analysis for Kimberly-Clark

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.

Kimberly-Clark's earnings per share are down 2.6% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

Since EPS is down a bit, and the share price is up, it's probably that the market previously had some concerns about the company, but the reality has been better than feared. Having said that, if the EPS falls continue we'd be surprised to see a sustained increase in share price.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Kimberly-Clark's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Kimberly-Clark the TSR over the last 5 years was 31%, 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

It's nice to see that Kimberly-Clark shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 4.6% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. However, that falls short of the 6% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Kimberly-Clark better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Kimberly-Clark is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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.

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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