For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term CTI Logistics Limited (ASX:CLX) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 43% over a half decade. But it's up 6.7% in the last week.
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.
During the five years over which the share price declined, CTI Logistics's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 42% each year. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. The share price decline of 11% per year isn't as bad as the EPS decline. So the market may previously have expected a drop, or else it expects the situation will improve. With a P/E ratio of 75.87, it's fair to say the market sees a brighter future for the business.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
This free interactive report on CTI Logistics's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered CTI Logistics's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Dividends have been really beneficial for CTI Logistics shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 30%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
Investors in CTI Logistics had a tough year, with a total loss of 8.9%, against a market gain of about 25%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 6.8% 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should be aware of the 5 warning signs we've spotted with CTI Logistics .
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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.
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