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. For example, the Brambles Limited (ASX:BXB) share price is down 18% in the last year. That falls noticeably short of the market decline of around 8.3%. Longer term investors have fared much better, since the share price is up 15% in three years.
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. 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.
Even though the Brambles share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
The divergence between the EPS and the share price is quite notable, during the year. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
With a low yield of 1.4% we doubt that the dividend influences the share price much. Brambles managed to grow revenue over the last year, which is usually a real positive. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are 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. If you are thinking of buying or selling Brambles stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Brambles the TSR over the last year was -14%, 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 Brambles shareholders are down 14% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 8.3%. 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 3.7% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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 - Brambles has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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 AU exchanges.
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. 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.