Markel (NYSE:MKL) shareholders notch a 3.2% CAGR over 5 years, yet earnings have been shrinking

·3 min read

The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market. But Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 17% over five years, which is below the market return. Unfortunately the share price is down 3.8% in the last year.

The past week has proven to be lucrative for Markel investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's five-year performance.

Check out our latest analysis for Markel

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Markel's earnings per share are down 38% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

The strong decline in earnings per share suggests the market isn't using EPS to judge the company. Given that EPS is down, but the share price is up, it seems clear the market is focussed on other aspects of the business, at the moment.

On the other hand, Markel's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 17% over the last five years. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil 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. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling Markel stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that Markel returned a loss of 3.8% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 8.9%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 3% for each year. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Markel , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Markel is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider 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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