U.S. Markets closed

Volatility 101: Should Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) Shares Have Dropped 33%?

Simply Wall St

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers So we wouldn't blame long term Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE:RL) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 33% over a half decade. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 19% in the last three months.

Check out our latest analysis for Ralph Lauren

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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).

Looking back five years, both Ralph Lauren's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 9.0% per year. Notably, the share price has fallen at 7.7% per year, fairly close to the change in the EPS. This implies that the market has had a fairly steady view of the stock. So it's fair to say the share price has been responding to changes in EPS.

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

NYSE:RL Past and Future Earnings, July 23rd 2019

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. 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. In the case of Ralph Lauren, it has a TSR of -26% 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

Investors in Ralph Lauren had a tough year, with a total loss of 19% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 6.1%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 5.8% 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.

Ralph Lauren 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.

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.