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The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Furthermore, you’d generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market But South State Corporation (NASDAQ:SSB) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 20% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 14% in the last year.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Over half a decade, South State managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 3.7% over the same period. So it seems the market isn’t so enthusiastic about the stock these days.
It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on South State’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for South State the TSR over the last 5 years was 30%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
South State shareholders are down 13% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 8.4%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 5.4%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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.
South State 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.