West Bancorporation, Inc. (NASDAQ:WTBA) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 17% in the last month. But the silver lining is the stock is up over five years. However we are not very impressed because the share price is only up 34%, less than the market return of 59%.
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While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Over half a decade, West Bancorporation managed to grow its earnings per share at 11% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 6.0% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn’t so enthusiastic about the stock these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 11.16.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that West Bancorporation has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you’re interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of West Bancorporation, it has a TSR of 58% 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 gained around 8.5% in the last year, West Bancorporation shareholders lost 19% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 9.6% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you would like to research West Bancorporation in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
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.
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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.