Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. For example, the Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) share price is down 30% in the last year. That's disappointing when you consider the market declined 21%. Even if shareholders bought some time ago, they wouldn't be particularly happy: the stock is down 29% in three years.
Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they've been consistent with returns.
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.
Baxter International fell to a loss making position during the year. While this may prove temporary, we'd consider it a negative, so it doesn't surprise us that the stock price is down. However, there may be an opportunity for investors if the company can recover.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Dive deeper into Baxter International's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Baxter International's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Baxter International shareholders are down 29% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 21%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 1.9% 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. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Baxter International (including 1 which is concerning) .
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.
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