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Zurn Water Solutions' (NYSE:ZWS) 50% YoY earnings expansion surpassed the shareholder returns over the past year

·4-min read

It's understandable if you feel frustrated when a stock you own sees a lower share price. But sometimes a share price fall can have more to do with market conditions than the performance of the specific business. The Zurn Water Solutions Corporation (NYSE:ZWS) is down 42% over a year, but the total shareholder return is 22% once you include the dividend. That's better than the market which declined 8.9% over the last year. On the bright side, the stock is actually up 11% in the last three years. Furthermore, it's down 12% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. But this could be related to the weak market, which is down 6.8% in the same period.

The recent uptick of 9.4% could be a positive sign of things to come, so let's take a lot at historical fundamentals.

Check out our latest analysis for Zurn Water Solutions

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the unfortunate twelve months during which the Zurn Water Solutions share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 50%. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth.

The divergence between the EPS and the share price is quite notable, during the year. So it's easy to justify a look at some other metrics.

With a low yield of 0.4% we doubt that the dividend influences the share price much. Zurn Water Solutions' revenue is actually up 23% over the last year. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.

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

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for Zurn Water Solutions in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Zurn Water Solutions the TSR over the last 1 year was 22%, 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 good to see that Zurn Water Solutions has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 22% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 21% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 Zurn Water Solutions is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable...

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 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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