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GPC

Investors in Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC) have made a notable return of 57% over the past five years

When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) share price is up 35% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Some buyers are laughing, though, with an increase of 23% in the last year.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

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 five years of share price growth, Genuine Parts achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 4.2% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 6% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growthNYSE:GPC Earnings Per Share Growth October 14th 2021

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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. In the case of Genuine Parts, it has a TSR of 57% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Genuine Parts' TSR for the year was broadly in line with the market average, at 27%. Most would be happy with a gain, and it helps that the year's return is actually better than the average return over five years, which was 9%. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Genuine Parts better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Genuine Parts is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , 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 US exchanges.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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