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Can You Imagine How First Bancorp's (NASDAQ:FBNC) Shareholders Feel About The 68% Share Price Increase?

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If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) share price is up 68% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. The last year has been disappointing, with the stock price down 17% in that time.

View our latest analysis for First Bancorp

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Over half a decade, First Bancorp managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 11% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on First Bancorp's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of First Bancorp, it has a TSR of 82% 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 First Bancorp had a tough year, with a total loss of 14% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 21%. 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 13% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for First Bancorp (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

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.