Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, long term NZX Limited (NZSE:NZX) shareholders have enjoyed a 66% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 50% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 40% in the last year , including dividends .
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.
During five years of share price growth, NZX actually saw its EPS drop 7.9% per year.
This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. 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.
It is not great to see that revenue has dropped by 1.1% per year over five years. It certainly surprises us that the share price is up, but perhaps a closer examination of the data will yield answers.
The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that NZX has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? You can see what analysts are predicting for NZX in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
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 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. As it happens, NZX’s TSR for the last 5 years was 125%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We’re pleased to report that NZX shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 40% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 18%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for NZX (of which 1 can’t be ignored!) you should know about.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NZ exchanges.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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