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Did Changing Sentiment Drive SAF-Holland's (ETR:SFQ) Share Price Down By 45%?

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Simply Wall St
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As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term SAF-Holland S.A. (ETR:SFQ) shareholders, since the share price is down 45% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 24%. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 43% lower in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 14% in the last 90 days. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

See our latest analysis for SAF-Holland

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.

SAF-Holland saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 17% per year, over the last three years. This change in EPS is reasonably close to the 18% average annual decrease in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time, despite the disappointment. It seems like the share price is reflecting the declining earnings per share.

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

XTRA:SFQ Past and Future Earnings, November 22nd 2019
XTRA:SFQ Past and Future Earnings, November 22nd 2019

This free interactive report on SAF-Holland's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for SAF-Holland the TSR over the last 3 years was -40%, 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

Investors in SAF-Holland had a tough year, with a total loss of 41% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 14%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 5.3% 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. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at SAF-Holland's dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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