Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). For example, the Hebei Construction Group Corporation Limited (HKG:1727) share price is up 37% in the last year, clearly besting the market return of around 3.5% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. Note that businesses generally develop over the long term, so the returns over the last year might not reflect a long term trend.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Over the last twelve months, Hebei Construction Group actually shrank its EPS by 49%.
This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Therefore, it seems likely that investors are putting more weight on metrics other than EPS, at the moment.
Absent any improvement, we don't think a thirst for dividends is pushing up the Hebei Construction Group's share price. Rather, we'd posit that the revenue increase of 16% might be more meaningful. Revenue growth often does precede earnings growth, so some investors might be willing to forgo profits today because they have their eyes fixed firmly on the future.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized 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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Hebei Construction Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Hebei Construction Group's TSR for the last year was 44%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Hebei Construction Group shareholders have gained 44% over the last year , including dividends . We regret to report that the share price is down 4.9% over ninety days. It may simply be that the share price got ahead of itself, although there may have been fundamental developments that are weighing on it. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should learn about the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Hebei Construction Group (including 1 which is is a bit unpleasant) .
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK exchanges.
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.
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