One way to deal with stock volatility is to ensure you have a properly diverse portfolio. But if you're going to beat the market overall, you need to have individual stocks that outperform. One such company is Heritage Commerce Corp (NASDAQ:HTBK), which saw its share price increase 58% in the last year, slightly above the market return of around 56% (not including dividends). In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 27% lower than it was three years ago.
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.
Heritage Commerce was able to grow EPS by 26% in the last twelve months. This EPS growth is significantly lower than the 58% increase in the share price. This indicates that the market is now more optimistic about the stock.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Heritage Commerce's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or 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. As it happens, Heritage Commerce's TSR for the last year was 69%, 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
We're pleased to report that Heritage Commerce shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 69% over one year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 7% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Heritage Commerce (1 can't be ignored) that you should be aware of.
But note: Heritage Commerce 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 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.
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