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The five-year decline in earnings for VersaBank TSE:VBNK) isn't encouraging, but shareholders are still up 154% over that period

·3 min read

It hasn't been the best quarter for VersaBank (TSE:VBNK) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 26% in that time. But in stark contrast, the returns over the last half decade have impressed. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 143% in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price.

Since the long term performance has been good but there's been a recent pullback of 13%, let's check if the fundamentals match the share price.

View our latest analysis for VersaBank

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.

VersaBank's earnings per share are down 0.3% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

The modest 0.9% dividend yield is unlikely to be propping up the share price. On the other hand, VersaBank's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 7.8% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for VersaBank the TSR over the last 5 years was 154%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

VersaBank shareholders are down 28% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 7.1%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 20%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand VersaBank better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for VersaBank (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.