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If You Had Bought Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSE:LB) Stock Three Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 24% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSE:LB) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 24% in three years, versus a market return of about 15%. Unhappily, the share price slid 2.8% in the last week.

View our latest analysis for Laurentian Bank of Canada

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...' 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.

Laurentian Bank of Canada saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 6.0% per year, over the last three years. This reduction in EPS is slower than the 8.9% annual reduction in the share price. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 11.76.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

TSX:LB Past and Future Earnings, January 3rd 2020

Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.

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, Laurentian Bank of Canada's TSR for the last 3 years was -11%, 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

It's good to see that Laurentian Bank of Canada has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 21% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 3.5% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Before spending more time on Laurentian Bank of Canada it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

But note: Laurentian Bank of Canada may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.