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P. H. Glatfelter Company (NYSE:GLT) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 17% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. In fact, the share price is down 39%, which falls well short of the return you could get by buying an index fund.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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, P. H. Glatfelter moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
It could be that the revenue decline of 13% per year is viewed as evidence that P. H. Glatfelter is shrinking. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.
You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).
We know that P. H. Glatfelter has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on P. H. Glatfelter
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of P. H. Glatfelter, it has a TSR of -31% 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
While the broader market gained around 6.3% in the last year, P. H. Glatfelter shareholders lost 2.0% (even including dividends). 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. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 7.1% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. If you would like to research P. H. Glatfelter in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
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 US exchanges.
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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.