Investing in ManpowerGroup (NYSE:MAN) three years ago would have delivered you a 53% gain

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It hasn’t been the best quarter for ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE:MAN) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 11% in that time. In contrast the stock is up over the last three years. In that time, it is up 42%, which isn’t bad, but not amazing either.

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.

View our latest analysis for ManpowerGroup

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 the three years of share price growth, ManpowerGroup actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 12% per year.

This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Given this situation, it makes sense to look at other metrics too.

You can only imagine how long term shareholders feel about the declining revenue trend (slipping at 5.7% per year). What’s clear is that historic earnings and revenue aren’t matching up with the share price action, very well. So you might have to dig deeper to get a grasp of the situation

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

We know that ManpowerGroup 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 ManpowerGroup

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, ManpowerGroup’s TSR for the last 3 years was 53%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

ManpowerGroup shareholders are up 7.4% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 4% per year over five year. It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we’ve spotted with ManpowerGroup .

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.

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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.