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Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. Unfortunately the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Inc. (NASDAQ:RMCF) share price slid 24% over twelve months. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 10%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 8.8% in the last three years. The silver lining is that the stock is up 2.2% in about a week.
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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Unfortunately Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory reported an EPS drop of 29% for the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 24% the share price fall. It may have been that the weak EPS was not as bad as some had feared.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
This free interactive report on Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory the TSR over the last year was -20%, 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
While the broader market gained around 10% in the last year, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shareholders lost 20% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 0.3% 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. Before spending more time on Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
But note: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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 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.