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Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in BT Group plc (LON:BT.A), since the last five years saw the share price fall 59%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 22% in the last three months.
It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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).
Looking back five years, both BT Group's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 18% per year. This change in EPS is reasonably close to the 17% average annual decrease in the share price. This suggests that market participants have not changed their view of the company all that much. Rather, the share price change has reflected changes in earnings per share.
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. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. 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)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between BT Group's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for BT Group shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 50%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that BT Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 58% over the last year. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 8% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. 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. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for BT Group that you should be aware of.
BT Group is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider 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. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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