The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. Investors in James Fisher and Sons plc (LON:FSJ) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 44%. That contrasts poorly with the market decline of 10%. Longer term shareholders haven't suffered as badly, since the stock is down a comparatively less painful 24% in three years. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 15% in the last three months. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.
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).
Unfortunately James Fisher and Sons reported an EPS drop of 45% for the last year. Remarkably, he share price decline of 44% per year is particularly close to the EPS drop. Given the lower EPS we might have expected investors to lose confidence in the stock, but that doesn't seemed to have happened. Rather, the share price is remains a similar multiple of the EPS, suggesting the outlook remains the same.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered James Fisher and Sons' share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). 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 James Fisher and Sons' TSR, which was a 43% drop over the last year, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that James Fisher and Sons shareholders are down 43% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 10%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 6.0% 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with James Fisher and Sons , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 GB 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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