U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 13 mins

Did Changing Sentiment Drive Pitney Bowes's (NYSE:PBI) Share Price Down A Painful 75%?

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and earn a $60 gift card!

Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. Zooming in on an example, the Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) share price dropped 75% in the last half decade. We certainly feel for shareholders who bought near the top. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 41% in the last year. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 19% in a month.

Check out our latest analysis for Pitney Bowes

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the five years over which the share price declined, Pitney Bowes's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 5.6% each year. Readers should note that the share price has fallen faster than the EPS, at a rate of 24% per year, over the period. This implies that the market is more cautious about the business these days. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 5.99.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:PBI Past and Future Earnings, March 27th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Pitney Bowes, it has a TSR of -68% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 8.7% in the last year, Pitney Bowes shareholders lost 37% (even including dividends). 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 20% over the last half decade. 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Pitney Bowes is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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.