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Investors Who Bought International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Down 30%

Simply Wall St

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM), since the last five years saw the share price fall 30%. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 11% in thirty days. Importantly, this could be a market reaction to the recently released financial results. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

See our latest analysis for International Business Machines

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.

During the five years over which the share price declined, International Business Machines's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 9.8% each year. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 6.8% compound annual share price fall. So the market may previously have expected a drop, or else it expects the situation will improve.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:IBM Past and Future Earnings, August 18th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of International Business Machines, it has a TSR of -15% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

International Business Machines shareholders are down 3.9% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 1.9%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 3.1% per year over five years. 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

International Business Machines 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 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 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.