The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. That downside risk was realized by Newtek Business Services Corp. (NASDAQ:NEWT) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 26%. That's well below the market return of 12%. At least the damage isn't so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 1.5% in that time. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 14% in the last three months.
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).
Even though the Newtek Business Services share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth.
By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the the market had expectations of much higher growth, last year. But other metrics might shed some light on why the share price is down.
Newtek Business Services' dividend seems healthy to us, so we doubt that the yield is a concern for the market. From what we can see, revenue is pretty flat, so that doesn't really explain the share price drop. Of course, it could simply be that it simply fell short of the market consensus expectations.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Newtek Business Services will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Newtek Business Services the TSR over the last year was -16%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Newtek Business Services shareholders are down 16% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 12%. 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 15% 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Newtek Business Services better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for Newtek Business Services you should be aware of, and 1 of them doesn't sit too well with us.
Newtek Business Services 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.
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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