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Did Changing Sentiment Drive CITIC's (HKG:267) Share Price Down By 25%?

Simply Wall St

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term CITIC Limited (HKG:267) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 25% over a half decade. Furthermore, it's down 12% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. But this could be related to the weak market, which is down 8.7% in the same period.

Check out our latest analysis for CITIC

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 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.

Looking back five years, both CITIC's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 2.1% per year. Readers should note that the share price has fallen faster than the EPS, at a rate of 5.7% per year, over the period. This implies that the market was previously too optimistic about the stock. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 5.42.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

SEHK:267 Past and Future Earnings, October 1st 2019

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on CITIC's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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 CITIC the TSR over the last 5 years was -13%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that CITIC shareholders are down 11% for the year (even including dividends) . Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 6.9%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 2.8% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Importantly, we haven't analysed CITIC's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.

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 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.