Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. Investors in GasLog Ltd. (NYSE:GLOG) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 37%. That's well bellow the market return of 3.7%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 21% in the last three years. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 12% in the last three months.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
GasLog fell to a loss making position during the year. Buyers no doubt think it's a temporary situation, but those with a nose for quality have low tolerance for losses. Of course, if the company can turn the situation around, investors will likely profit.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of GasLog, it has a TSR of -34% for the last year. 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
Investors in GasLog had a tough year, with a total loss of 34% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 3.7%. 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 2.0% 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.
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 US 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 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.