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Investing in stocks inevitably means buying into some companies that perform poorly. But long term Matthews International Corporation (NASDAQ:MATW) shareholders have had a particularly rough ride in the last three year. Sadly for them, the share price is down 64% in that time. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 38% in the last year. Furthermore, it's down 37% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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).
Matthews International saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. Due to the loss, it's not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. But it's safe to say we'd generally expect the share price to be lower as a result!
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free interactive report on Matthews International'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 Matthews International's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Matthews International's TSR, which was a 62% drop over the last 3 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Matthews International shareholders are down 37% for the year (even including dividends) . Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 1.5%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 12% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Matthews International you should be aware of, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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