While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the RSA Insurance Group plc (LON:RSA) share price has gained 21% in the last three months. But that doesn't help the fact that the three year return is less impressive. Truth be told the share price declined 33% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.
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.
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, RSA Insurance Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 95% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
With revenue flat over three years, it seems unlikely that the share price is reflecting the top line. There doesn't seem to be any clear correlation between the fundamental business metrics and the share price. That could mean that the stock was previously overrated, or it could spell opportunity now.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that RSA Insurance Group has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? Take a more thorough look at RSA Insurance Group's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between RSA Insurance Group's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Dividends have been really beneficial for RSA Insurance Group shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 27%, over the last 3 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that RSA Insurance Group shareholders are down 21% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 11%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 0.8% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. Is RSA Insurance Group cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
If you are like me, then you will 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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