One simple way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. But in any given year a good portion of stocks will fall short of that. One such example is Newtek Business Services Corp. (NASDAQ:NEWT), which saw its share price fall 30% over a year, against a market decline of 18%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 7.4% in the last three years. Furthermore, it's down 16% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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).
Unhappily, Newtek Business Services had to report a 12% decline in EPS over the last year. This reduction in EPS is not as bad as the 30% share price fall. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, a year ago. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 8.55.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Newtek Business Services' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Newtek Business Services the TSR over the last 1 year was -21%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Newtek Business Services shareholders are down 21% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 18%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 15% 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Take risks, for example - Newtek Business Services has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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