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If You Had Bought Washington Federal's (NASDAQ:WAFD) Shares A Year Ago You Would Be Down 44%

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·3 min read
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The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. Investors in Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WAFD) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 44%. That's well below the market return of 15%. Even if you look out three years, the returns are still disappointing, with the share price down37% in that time. Furthermore, it's down 15% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.

Check out our latest analysis for Washington Federal

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.

Unhappily, Washington Federal had to report a 4.0% decline in EPS over the last year. This reduction in EPS is not as bad as the 44% share price fall. Unsurprisingly, given the lack of EPS growth, the market seems to be more cautious about the stock. The P/E ratio of 8.46 also points to the negative market sentiment.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Washington Federal's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Washington Federal's total shareholder return (TSR) and its 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. Washington Federal's TSR of was a loss of 42% for the year. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.

A Different Perspective

Washington Federal shareholders are down 42% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 15%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 1.0%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Washington Federal better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Washington Federal (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.