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Shareholders in UWM Holdings (NYSE:UWMC) are in the red if they invested a year ago

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The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. Investors in UWM Holdings Corporation (NYSE:UWMC) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 54%. That's disappointing when you consider the market declined 20%. We wouldn't rush to judgement on UWM Holdings because we don't have a long term history to look at. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 17% in the last 90 days. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 17% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

Check out our latest analysis for UWM Holdings

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 UWM Holdings reported an EPS drop of 98% for the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 54% the share price fall. It may have been that the weak EPS was not as bad as some had feared.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on UWM Holdings' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, UWM Holdings' TSR for the last 1 year was -50%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We doubt UWM Holdings shareholders are happy with the loss of 50% over twelve months (even including dividends). That falls short of the market, which lost 20%. That's disappointing, but it's worth keeping in mind that the market-wide selling wouldn't have helped. The share price decline has continued throughout the most recent three months, down 17%, suggesting an absence of enthusiasm from investors. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for UWM Holdings (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.

UWM Holdings 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.