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Imagine Owning Johnson Electric Holdings (HKG:179) And Wondering If The 47% Share Price Slide Is Justified

Simply Wall St

The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Johnson Electric Holdings Limited (HKG:179), since the last five years saw the share price fall 47%. We also note that the stock has performed poorly over the last year, with the share price down 25%. It's up 1.4% in the last seven days.

View our latest analysis for Johnson Electric Holdings

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.

While the share price declined over five years, Johnson Electric Holdings actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 6.8% per year. So it doesn't seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.

Because of the sharp contrast between the EPS growth rate and the share price growth, we're inclined to look to other metrics to understand the changing market sentiment around the stock.

In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 12% a year in the five year period. A more detailed examination of the revenue and earnings may or may not explain why the share price languishes; there could be an opportunity.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

SEHK:179 Income Statement, October 13th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Johnson Electric Holdings stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Johnson Electric Holdings the TSR over the last 5 years was -41%, 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

Johnson Electric Holdings shareholders are down 23% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 2.3%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 9.9% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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.

Johnson Electric Holdings is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.