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If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market But The First Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNLC) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 39% over five years, which is below the market return. The last year hasn't been great either, with the stock up just 0.8%.
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. 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 half a decade, First Bancorp managed to grow its earnings per share at 10% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 7% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days. The reasonably low P/E ratio of 10.67 also suggests market apprehension.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on First Bancorp's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, First Bancorp's TSR for the last 5 years was 72%, 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
First Bancorp provided a TSR of 6.4% over the last twelve months. But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 12% a year, over half a decade) look better. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of First Bancorp by clicking this link.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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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