For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term Lippo Limited (HKG:226) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 48% in three years, versus a market return of about -3.7%. And the ride hasn’t got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 27% lower in that time. On the other hand the share price has bounced 9.7% over the last week.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Lippo 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 it’s worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.
We think that the revenue decline over three years, at a rate of 8.0% per year, probably had some shareholders looking to sell. After all, if revenue keeps shrinking, it may be difficult to find earnings growth in the future.
The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Lippo, it has a TSR of -44% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Lippo shareholders are down 25% for the year (even including dividends) . Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 19%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there’s a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8.1% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should “buy when there is blood on the streets”, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Lippo better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Lippo that you should be aware of before investing here.
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 HK 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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