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Those Who Purchased Commerzbank (ETR:CBK) Shares Five Years Ago Have A 50% Loss To Show For It

Simply Wall St

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Commerzbank AG (ETR:CBK), since the last five years saw the share price fall 50%. Contrary to the longer term story, the last month has been good for stockholders, with a share price gain of 9.8%.

View our latest analysis for Commerzbank

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Commerzbank actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 4.6% 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 possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.

By glancing at these numbers, we'd posit that the the market had expectations of much higher growth, five years ago. Looking to other metrics might better explain the share price change.

The revenue fall of 0.7% per year for five years is neither good nor terrible. But if the market expected durable top line growth, then that could explain the share price weakness.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

XTRA:CBK Income Statement, December 21st 2019

Commerzbank is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Commerzbank will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Commerzbank the TSR over the last 5 years was -47%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 23% in the last year, Commerzbank shareholders lost 1.1% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 12% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. Importantly, we haven't analysed Commerzbank's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.

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 DE exchanges.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.