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If You Had Bought Swire Pacific (HKG:19) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 27% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Swire Pacific Limited (HKG:19), since the last five years saw the share price fall 27%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 19% in the last three months.

See our latest analysis for Swire Pacific

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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).

While the share price declined over five years, Swire Pacific actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 6.6% per year. So it doesn't seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

Because of the sharp contrast between the EPS growth rate and the share price growth, we're inclined to look to other metrics to understand the changing market sentiment around the stock.

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.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

SEHK:19 Income Statement, October 28th 2019

This free interactive report on Swire Pacific's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Swire Pacific, it has a TSR of -13% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Investors in Swire Pacific had a tough year, with a total loss of 5.8% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 7.3%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 2.8% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at Swire Pacific's dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.

But note: Swire Pacific 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 HK 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.