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Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. Investors in SAS AB (publ) (STO:SAS) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 31%. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around 8.5%. Taking the longer term view, the stock fell 28% over the last three years. In the last ninety days we've seen the share price slide 37%. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.
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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Unfortunately SAS reported an EPS drop of 40% for the last year. The share price fall of 31% isn't as bad as the reduction in earnings per share. So despite the weak per-share profits, some investors are probably relieved the situation wasn't more difficult.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 8.5% in the last year, SAS shareholders lost 31%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 0.3% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you would like to research SAS in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SE 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.