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This week we saw the The First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:FBMS) share price climb by 10%. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last year have been less than pleasing. The cold reality is that the stock has dropped 31% in one year, under-performing the market.
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).
Even though the First Bancshares share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It could be that the share price was previously over-hyped.
It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. So it's easy to justify a look at some other metrics.
Given the yield is quite low, at 1.8%, we doubt the dividend can shed much light on the share price. First Bancshares 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.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on First Bancshares
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between First Bancshares' total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that First Bancshares' TSR, which was a 30% drop over the last year, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
First Bancshares shareholders are down 30% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 19%. 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 6% 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for First Bancshares that you should be aware of before investing here.
But note: First Bancshares may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.
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