The HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) share price has had a bad week, falling 17%. But over three years, the returns would have left most investors smiling In fact, the company’s share price bested the return of its market index in that time, posting a gain of 75%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
HP was able to grow its EPS at 9.6% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 21% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. This indicates that the market is feeling more optimistic on the stock, after the last few years of progress. It’s not unusual to see the market ‘re-rate’ a stock, after a few years of growth.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that HP has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think HP will grow revenue in the future.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of HP, it has a TSR of 92% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 5.7% in the last year, HP shareholders lost 15% (even including dividends). 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 10%, 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. If you would like to research HP in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
We will like HP better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.