Shareholders in ManpowerGroup (NYSE:MAN) are in the red if they invested five years ago

ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE:MAN) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 21% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. After all, the share price is down 31% in that time, significantly under-performing the market.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

View our latest analysis for ManpowerGroup

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).

While the share price declined over five years, ManpowerGroup actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 5.0% per year. So it doesn't seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the the market had expectations of much higher growth, five years ago. Having said that, we might get a better idea of what's going on with the stock by looking at other metrics.

The revenue fall of 1.8% per year for five years is neither good nor terrible. But it's quite possible the market had expected better; a closer look at the revenue trends might explain the pessimism.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We know that ManpowerGroup has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? You can see what analysts are predicting for ManpowerGroup in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for ManpowerGroup the TSR over the last 5 years 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

While it's never nice to take a loss, ManpowerGroup shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 2.0% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 14%. What is more upsetting is the 4% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. This sort of share price action isn't particularly encouraging, but at least the losses are slowing. 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. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for ManpowerGroup that you should be aware of.

Of course ManpowerGroup may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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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