In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. Unfortunately, that’s been the case for longer term Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) shareholders, since the share price is down 23% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 40%. The silver lining is that the stock is up 1.6% in about a week.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.
During the three years that the share price fell, Vicinity Centres’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 4.0% each year. This reduction in EPS is slower than the 8.3% annual reduction in the share price. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past.
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for Vicinity Centres the TSR over the last 3 years was -7.2%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Vicinity Centres shareholders are up 4.3% for the year (even including dividends). While you don’t go broke making a profit, this return was actually lower than the average market return of about 13%. The silver lining is that the recent rise is far preferable to the annual loss of 2.5% that shareholders have suffered over the last three years. It could well be that the business is stabilizing. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.
Vicinity Centres 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 AU 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.