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Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. For example, the Telford Homes Plc (LON:TEF) share price is down 37% in the last year. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around -1.0%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 21% in the last three years. The silver lining is that the stock is up 3.7% in about a week.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
Unhappily, Telford Homes had to report a 11% decline in EPS over the last year. This reduction in EPS is not as bad as the 37% share price fall. This suggests the EPS fall has made some shareholders are more nervous about the business. The P/E ratio of 6.55 also points to the negative market sentiment.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
This free interactive report on Telford Homes'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). 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. In the case of Telford Homes, it has a TSR of -34% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 1.0% in the twelve months, Telford Homes shareholders did even worse, losing 34% (even including dividends). Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 0.3% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at Telford Homes'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 GB 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.