If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you’d hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you’d like to see the share price move up more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Rayonier Inc. (NYSE:RYN) share price is up 23% in the last five years, that’s less than the market return. The last year has been disappointing, with the stock price down 3.2% in that time.
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. 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).
During five years of share price growth, Rayonier actually saw its EPS drop 0.5% per year.
Since EPS is down a bit, and the share price is up, it’s probably that the market previously had some concerns about the company, but the reality has been better than feared. In the long term, though, it will be hard for the share price rises to continue without improving EPS.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. As it happens, Rayonier’s TSR for the last 5 years was 48%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Rayonier shareholders gained a total return of 1.0% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 8.1% per year for five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. 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 4 warning signs for Rayonier (of which 2 make us uncomfortable!) you should know about.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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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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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