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For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Vicat SA (EPA:VCT), since the last five years saw the share price fall 30%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 30% over the last twelve months.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Vicat actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 4.7% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past. Based on these numbers, we'd venture that the market may have been over-optimistic about forecast growth, half a decade ago. Having said that, we might get a better idea of what's going on with the stock by looking at other metrics.
Revenue is actually up 2.1% over the time period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.
You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Vicat will earn in the future (free profit forecasts)
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Vicat the TSR over the last 5 years was -21%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Vicat had a tough year, with a total loss of 28% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 6.4%. 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 4.7% 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. Importantly, we haven't analysed Vicat's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.
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 FR 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.