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. That downside risk was realized by UCB SA (EBR:UCB) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 11%. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around -3.4%. Longer term shareholders haven't suffered as badly, since the stock is down a comparatively less painful 0.9% in three years. Even worse, it's down 9.1% in about a month, which isn't fun at all. Importantly, this could be a market reaction to the recently released financial results. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.
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.
Unhappily, UCB had to report a 25% decline in EPS over the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 11% the share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have expected earnings to drop faster.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. 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)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between UCB's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. 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 UCB shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 9.8%, over the last year, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that UCB shareholders are down 9.8% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 3.4%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 1.5% per year over half a decade. 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. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how UCB scores on these 3 valuation metrics.
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 BE exchanges.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.