While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the AB Builders Group Limited (HKG:1615) share price up 20% in a single quarter. But that is minimal compensation for the share price under-performance over the last year. After all, the share price is down 12% in the last year, significantly under-performing the market.
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.
Unfortunately AB Builders Group reported an EPS drop of 49% for the last year. The share price fall of 12% isn't as bad as the reduction in earnings per share. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have expected earnings to drop faster.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on AB Builders Group'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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, AB Builders Group's TSR for the last year was -9.4%, 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
Given that the market gained 4.7% in the last year, AB Builders Group shareholders might be miffed that they lost 9.4% (even including dividends) . 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. Putting aside the last twelve months, it's good to see the share price has rebounded by 20%, in the last ninety days. This could just be a bounce because the selling was too aggressive, but fingers crossed it's the start of a new trend. 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.
AB Builders Group 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 HK 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 email@example.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.