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As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Bassett Furniture Industries, Incorporated (NASDAQ:BSET) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 47% in three years, versus a market return of about 46%. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 46% in a year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 18% in the last three months.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Bassett Furniture Industries saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 26% per year, over the last three years. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 19% compound annual share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have previously priced some of the drop in.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Bassett Furniture Industries'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). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Bassett Furniture Industries's TSR for the last 3 years was -43%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Bassett Furniture Industries shareholders are down 45% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 8.7%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 5.2% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
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 US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
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. Thank you for reading.