CNA Financial (NYSE:CNA) shareholders have earned a 11% CAGR over the last three years

CNA Financial Corporation +0.54%

CNA Financial Corporation

CNA

44.29

+0.54%

Investors can buy low cost index fund if they want to receive the average market return. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA) share price is up 13% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. At least the stock price is up over the last year, albeit only by 2.6%.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 3 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

See our latest analysis for CNA Financial

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During three years of share price growth, CNA Financial achieved compound earnings per share growth of 31% per year. The average annual share price increase of 4% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 9.27 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

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

earnings-per-share-growth
NYSE:CNA Earnings Per Share Growth January 30th 2024

We know that CNA Financial has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? Take a more thorough look at CNA Financial's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, CNA Financial's TSR for the last 3 years was 38%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

CNA Financial provided a TSR of 9.8% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 6% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand CNA Financial better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for CNA Financial you should be aware of.

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 American exchanges.

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