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Some Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings (HKG:3737) Shareholders Are Down 38%

Simply Wall St

As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (HKG:3737) shareholders, since the share price is down 38% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 13%. Furthermore, it's down 11% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

See our latest analysis for Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 three years of share price decline, Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 22% 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 else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn't explain the share price drop. It's good to see that Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings has increased its revenue over the last three years. If the company can keep growing revenue, there may be an opportunity for investors. You might have to dig deeper to understand the recent share price weakness.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

SEHK:3737 Income Statement, September 6th 2019

Take a more thorough look at Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings's TSR for the last 3 years was -31%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

The last twelve months weren't great for Zhongzhi Pharmaceutical Holdings shares, which performed worse than the market, costing holders 5.2%, including dividends. Meanwhile, the broader market slid about 3.3%, likely weighing on the stock. Unfortunately, the longer term story isn't pretty, with investment losses running at 12% per year over three years. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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.