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While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) share price has gained 20% in the last three months. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last year have been less than pleasing. In fact, the price has declined 17% in a year, falling short of the returns you could get by investing in an index fund.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Unfortunately Old Republic International reported an EPS drop of 53% for the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 17% the share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have expected earnings to drop faster.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Old Republic International's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Old Republic International, it has a TSR of -8.9% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 25% in the last year, Old Republic International shareholders lost 8.9% (even including dividends). 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 8%, each year, over five years. 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 - Old Republic International has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
Old Republic International is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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