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If You Had Bought Personal Group Holdings (LON:PGH) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 20% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

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While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Personal Group Holdings Plc (LON:PGH) share price has gained 24% in the last three months. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 20% in that half decade.

Check out our latest analysis for Personal Group Holdings

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Personal Group Holdings actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 31% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS. Generally speaking we'd expect to see stronger share price increases on the back of sustained EPS growth, but other metrics may hold a clue to why the share price performance is relatively modest.

The steady dividend doesn't really explain why the share price is down. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.

Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.

AIM:PGH Income Statement, June 25th 2019

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Personal Group Holdings

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. As it happens, Personal Group Holdings's TSR for the last 5 years was 1.7%, 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

Personal Group Holdings shareholders are down 3.5% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 2.5%. 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 0.3% 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. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

We will like Personal Group Holdings 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 GB 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 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. Thank you for reading.