For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term The Weir Group PLC (LON:WEIR) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 31% in three years, versus a market return of about 21%. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 8.0% in thirty days.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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).
Weir Group became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So given the share price is down it’s worth checking some other metrics too.
We note that, in three years, revenue has actually grown at a 14% annual rate, so that doesn’t seem to be a reason to sell shares. It’s probably worth investigating Weir Group further; while we may be missing something on this analysis, there might also be an opportunity.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Weir Group is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
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 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, Weir Group’s TSR for the last 3 years was -26%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 15% in the last year, Weir Group shareholders lost 3.6% (even including dividends) . 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 2.5% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Take risks, for example – Weir Group has 5 warning signs (and 1 which is concerning) we think you should know about.
But note: Weir Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
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.
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