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The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. But NBT Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:NBTB) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 32% over five years, which is below the market return. Some buyers are laughing, though, with an increase of 30% in the last year.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
During five years of share price growth, NBT Bancorp achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 12% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 6% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that NBT Bancorp has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, NBT Bancorp's TSR for the last 5 years was 52%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
NBT Bancorp shareholders are up 34% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 9% per year over five year. It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for NBT Bancorp you should be aware of, and 1 of them shouldn't be ignored.
But note: NBT Bancorp 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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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