In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that’s been the case for longer term Moelis & Company (NYSE:MC) shareholders, since the share price is down 21% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 44%. Furthermore, it’s down 11% in about a quarter. That’s not much fun for holders.
To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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.
Moelis saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 12% per year, over the last three years. In comparison the 7.6% compound annual share price decline isn’t as bad as the EPS drop-off. This suggests that the market retains some optimism around long term earnings stability, despite past EPS declines.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
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. In the case of Moelis, it has a TSR of -0.7% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Moelis shareholders are down 3.7% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 19%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 12% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Moelis better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We’ve spotted 5 warning signs for Moelis you should be aware of, and 1 of them shouldn’t be ignored.
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 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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