If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Citizens Holding Company (NASDAQ:CIZN) share price is up 18% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. The last year hasn't been great either, with the stock up just 2.0%.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 five years of share price growth, Citizens Holding actually saw its EPS drop 1.5% per year. With EPS falling, but a modestly increasing share price, it seems that the market was probably too pessimistic about the stock in the past. In the long term, though, it will be hard for the share price rises to continue without improving EPS.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Citizens Holding, it has a TSR of 47% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Citizens Holding shareholders are up 6.7% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. It's probably a good sign that the company has an even better long term track record, having provided shareholders with an annual TSR of 8.0% over five years. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. Before forming an opinion on Citizens Holding you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
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Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 email@example.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.