Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 16% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been disappointing. In that time the share price has delivered a rude shock to holders, who find themselves down 64% after a long stretch. So is the recent increase sufficient to restore confidence in the stock? Not yet. We'd err towards caution given the long term under-performance.
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 five years over which the share price declined, Viacom's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 7.0% each year. This reduction in EPS is less than the 18% annual reduction in the share price. This implies that the market is more cautious about the business these days. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 8.27.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. We note that for Viacom the TSR over the last 5 years was -59%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Viacom provided a TSR of 1.2% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. But at least that's still a gain! Over five years the TSR has been a reduction of 16% per year, over five years. It could well be that the business is stabilizing. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how Viacom scores on these 3 valuation metrics.
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Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 email@example.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. Thank you for reading.