Buying a low-cost index fund will get you the average market return. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE:PLT) share price is up 26% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Disappointingly, the share price is down 19% in the last year.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Over the last three years, Plantronics failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 88% (annualized). This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Therefore, we think it’s worth considering other metrics as well.
The modest 1.2% dividend yield is unlikely to be propping up the share price. It could be that the revenue growth of 11% per year is viewed as evidence that Plantronics is growing. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth, and maybe shareholder’s faith in better days ahead will be rewarded.
The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.
It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Plantronics 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 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. In the case of Plantronics, it has a TSR of 30% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 1.4% in the last year, Plantronics shareholders lost 18% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 2.4% 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 is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Plantronics 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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
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. Thank you for reading.