It is doubtless a positive to see that the Adairs Limited (ASX:ADH) share price has gained some 36% in the last three months. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. After all, the share price is down 30% in the last three years, significantly under-performing the market.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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).
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Adairs actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 2.9% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed. After considering the numbers, we'd posit that the the market had higher expectations of EPS growth, three years back. But it's possible a look at other metrics will be enlightening.
Given the healthiness of the dividend payments, we doubt that they've concerned the market. We like that Adairs has actually grown its revenue over the last three years. If the company can keep growing revenue, there may be an opportunity for investors. You might have to dig deeper to understand the recent share price weakness.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Adairs stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst 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. 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. We note that for Adairs the TSR over the last 3 years was -14%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Adairs shareholders are down 19% for the year (even including dividends) , but the broader market is up 13%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Shareholders have lost 4.9% per year over the last three years, so the share price drop has become steeper, over the last year; a potential symptom of as yet unsolved challenges. Although Warren Buffett famously said he likes to 'buy when there is blood on the streets', he also focusses on high quality stocks with solid prospects. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Adairs is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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.