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Did Changing Sentiment Drive CNO Financial Group's (NYSE:CNO) Share Price Down By 25%?

Simply Wall St

Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. Unfortunately the CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CNO) share price slid 25% over twelve months. That contrasts poorly with the market return of 9.9%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 9.7% in the last three years.

View our latest analysis for CNO Financial Group

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.

During the last year CNO Financial Group saw its earnings per share drop below zero. Buyers no doubt think it's a temporary situation, but those with a nose for quality have low tolerance for losses. However, there may be an opportunity for investors if the company can recover.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:CNO Past and Future Earnings, April 12th 2019

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on CNO Financial Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between CNO Financial Group's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Its history of dividend payouts mean that CNO Financial Group's TSR, which was a 23% drop over the last year, was not as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 9.9% in the last year, CNO Financial Group shareholders lost 23% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 1.0%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

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.

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.