For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A. (EPA:SGO) shareholders, since the share price is down 10% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 45%. In contrast, the stock price has popped 8.1% in the last thirty days. However, this may be a matter of broader market optimism, since stocks are up 3.3% in the same time.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Over the three years that the share price declined, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's earnings per share (EPS) dropped significantly, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. We note that for Compagnie de Saint-Gobain the TSR over the last 3 years was -1.3%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain shareholders are down 3.5% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 3.8%. 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 3.1%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. Before forming an opinion on Compagnie de Saint-Gobain you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
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 FR 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.