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Volatility 101: Should China Renewable Energy Investment (HKG:987) Shares Have Dropped 38%?

Simply Wall St

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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 China Renewable Energy Investment Limited (HKG:987), since the last five years saw the share price fall 38%. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 15% in the last 90 days. But this could be related to the weak market, which is down 6.6% in the same period.

View our latest analysis for China Renewable Energy Investment

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, China Renewable Energy Investment actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 16% 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. Because of the sharp contrast between the EPS growth rate and the share price growth, we're inclined to look to other metrics to understand the changing market sentiment around the stock.

We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

SEHK:987 Income Statement, July 3rd 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. 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 Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of China Renewable Energy Investment, it has a TSR of -33% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 3.5% in the twelve months, China Renewable Energy Investment shareholders did even worse, losing 9.3% (even including dividends). 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7.7% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK 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 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. Thank you for reading.