It usually pays to know as much as possible about the companies you invest in.  But there’s a difference between current data and ancient history.  How far back does it pay to look at a company’s performance, and how should the information be interpreted?

SRC publishes three compilations of long-term charts.  The SRC 25-Year Charts, 35-Year Charts, and the 50-Year Charts – each covering approximately 1,000 sectors, industries and companies.

The Brown Book of 25-Year Charts is published annually in May, and is organized by sector, industry, and then those companies that are a part of that industry.  There are two 25-Year Charts per page.

The 35-Year Charts are available online through ChartScreen, and each chart is on its own 8.5” x 11” page.

The Green Book of 50-Year Charts shows the longest possible view, and is published annually in January.  Each 50-Year chart is on its own 8.5” x 14” legal-size page.

All of SRC’s long-term charts are updated nightly and are available for viewing and download through ChartScreen, and contain the features that SRC’s shorter-term charts have.  In addition, SRC’s long-term charts also display recessionary periods that are grey-shaded, so that you can clearly see how the company fared during recessions as well as expansion periods.

Why is this important?  When you begin to examine the long-term picture of a company, you will see that history often repeats itself, with stock prices and earnings following similar patterns during recessions – as well as how the stock performs when the economic recovery begins.  These charts, with their thousands of plotting points, each represent a vast reserve of factual information for the investor and analyst who wants to follow earnings, dividends, and price patters, plus the relationship of each to the other.  In addition, each chart quickly shows where a stock stands today in relation to various points in the past.  This long-term record permits the study of various trends and formations, especially those which may not be evident in short term charts.

The long-term data are also a powerful lesson about the cyclical nature of the American business, and the inter-dependence of our entire economy.  No company, not even the strongest, is completely protected against recession.  No company can fail to be buoyed by a rising tide, unless it has significant underlying problems.  Long-term charts show the market in its realism, with fads and fashion ironed out.

Below you will find the 25-year, 35-year and 50-year charts for Johnson & Johnson.  Notice the consistency in earnings and dividend performance over these time periods; how the stock price fared during the recession and expansion periods; how the relative performance to the S&P dipped at the start of each expansion period, and then recovered.  It’s these valuable pieces of information that can shed light on how a company may fare during similar economic circumstances in the future.

25 Year Chart

35 Year Chart

50 Year Chart

Multiple Views – How the Picture Changes: 21-Month, 12-Year & 25-Year

The time frame for viewing a stock can tell one story for looking at one time period and another for a different time period.  See Johnson & Johnson’s 21-Month, 12-Year, and 25-Year Charts below.

Continue on to Part 6: Finding the Perfect Stock Online
Go Back to Part 4: Medium Term Views
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