Wayside Technology Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:WSTG) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 30% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. In fact, the share price is down 22% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 three years of share price decline, Wayside Technology Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 4.1% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
It looks to us like the market was probably too optimistic around growth three years ago. But it's possible a look at other metrics will be enlightening.
Given the healthiness of the dividend payments, we doubt that they've concerned the market. On the other hand, the uninspired reduction in revenue, at 19% each year, may have shareholders ditching the stock. This could have some investors worried about the longer term growth potential (or lack thereof).
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Wayside Technology Group's TSR for the last 3 years was -9.8%, 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
It's nice to see that Wayside Technology Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 17% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 2.7% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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