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As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term The Go-Ahead Group plc (LON:GOG) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 26% in three years, versus a market return of about 28%. It's up 3.7% in the last seven days.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
Go-Ahead Group saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 2.6% per year, over the last three years. The share price decline of 9.7% is actually steeper than the EPS slippage. So it's likely that the EPS decline has disappointed the market, leaving investors hesitant to buy.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Dive deeper into Go-Ahead Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Go-Ahead Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 Go-Ahead Group, it has a TSR of -13% for the last 3 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
We're pleased to report that Go-Ahead Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 17% 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 0.7% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Before forming an opinion on Go-Ahead Group you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
If you are like me, then you will 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 GB 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.