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When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. To wit, the Chemung Financial share price has climbed 63% in five years, easily topping the market return of 43% (ignoring dividends).
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.
Over half a decade, Chemung Financial managed to grow its earnings per share at 18% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 10% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 11.75.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Chemung Financial's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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, Chemung Financial's TSR for the last 5 years was 89%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Chemung Financial shareholders are down 3.2% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 7.0%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 14%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Chemung Financial by clicking this link.
Chemung Financial 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 US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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.