It's easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. For example, the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (HKG:386) share price is down 19% in the last year. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around -1.6%. On the bright side, the stock is actually up 13% in the last three years. There was little comfort for shareholders in the last week as the price declined a further 1.9%.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Even though the China Petroleum & Chemical share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past. It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
Vibrant companies don't usually cut their dividends, so the recent reduction might help explain why the China Petroleum & Chemical share price has been weak.
The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).
China Petroleum & Chemical is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think China Petroleum & Chemical will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for China Petroleum & Chemical the TSR over the last year was -11%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that China Petroleum & Chemical shareholders are down 11% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 1.6%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 2.6% per year over half a decade. 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. Importantly, we haven't analysed China Petroleum & Chemical's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK 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.