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Did Changing Sentiment Drive Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank's (HKG:1551) Share Price Down By 27%?

Simply Wall St

Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. Unfortunately the Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank Co., Ltd. (HKG:1551) share price slid 27% over twelve months. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 14%. We wouldn't rush to judgement on Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank because we don't have a long term history to look at.

View our latest analysis for Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Even though the Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It could be that the share price was previously over-hyped.

It's surprising to see the share price fall so much, despite the improved EPS. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.

We don't see any weakness in the Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank's dividend so the steady payout can't really explain the share price drop. From what we can see, revenue is pretty flat, so that doesn't really explain the share price drop. Unless, of course, the market was expecting a revenue uptick.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

SEHK:1551 Income Statement, January 6th 2020

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank's TSR for the last year was -23%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank shareholders are down 23% for the year (even including dividends) , the market itself is up 14%. While the aim is to do better than that, it's worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. The share price decline has continued throughout the most recent three months, down 1.6%, suggesting an absence of enthusiasm from investors. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. Before forming an opinion on Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.