For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Independent Bank Corp. (NASDAQ:INDB), since the last five years saw the share price fall 41%. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 31% in the last year.
Given the past week has been tough on shareholders, let's investigate the fundamentals and see what we can learn.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
While the share price declined over five years, Independent Bank actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 10% per year. So it doesn't seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.
Due to the lack of correlation between the EPS growth and the falling share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movement.
We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Independent Bank will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Independent Bank's TSR for the last 5 years was -33%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 9.3% in the last year, Independent Bank shareholders lost 29% (even including dividends). Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 6% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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. Even so, be aware that Independent Bank is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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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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.