While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Humana AB (publ) (STO:HUM) share price up 21% in a single quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. Truth be told the share price declined 17% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Although the share price is down over three years, Humana actually managed to grow EPS by 14% per year in that time. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
With a rather small yield of just 1.1% we doubt that the stock's share price is based on its dividend. Revenue is actually up 3.6% over the three years, so the share price drop doesn't seem to hinge on revenue, either. This analysis is just perfunctory, but it might be worth researching Humana more closely, as sometimes stocks fall unfairly. This could present an opportunity.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. You can see what analysts are predicting for Humana in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Humana the TSR over the last 3 years was -15%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Over the last year Humana shareholders have received a TSR of 13%. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return of around 23%. The silver lining is that the recent rise is far preferable to the annual loss of 5.2% that shareholders have suffered over the last three years. It could well be that the business is stabilizing. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
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 SE exchanges.
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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.