Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:WRE) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 35% in three years, versus a market return of about 42%. But it's up 6.4% in the last week.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust became profitable within the last five years. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So it's worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.
We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn't explain the share price drop. Revenue has been pretty flat over three years, so that isn't an obvious reason shareholders would sell. So it might be worth looking at how revenue growth over time, in greater detail.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? If you are thinking of buying or selling Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 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 spin-offs or 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. As it happens, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust's TSR for the last 3 years was -25%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 17% in the last year, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust shareholders lost 18% (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 1.1%, each year, over five years. 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. 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. Even so, be aware that Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is concerning...
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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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