While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Abano Healthcare Group Limited (NZSE:ABA) share price has gained 21% in the last three months. But that doesn't help the fact that the three year return is less impressive. Truth be told the share price declined 45% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 the three years that the share price fell, Abano Healthcare Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 40% each year. In comparison the 18% compound annual share price decline isn't as bad as the EPS drop-off. So, despite the prior disappointment, shareholders must have some confidence the situation will improve, longer term.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Dive deeper into Abano Healthcare Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Abano Healthcare Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Abano Healthcare Group's TSR for the last 3 years was -34%, 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 20% in the last year, Abano Healthcare Group shareholders lost 34% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 3.5% 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. Before forming an opinion on Abano Healthcare Group you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NZ exchanges.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.