Investors Who Bought Bank of China (HKG:3988) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Down 29%

For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers So we wouldn’t blame long term Bank of China Limited (HKG:3988) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 29% over a half decade. More recently, the share price has dropped a further 8.9% in a month. However, we note the price may have been impacted by the broader market, which is down 8.5% in the same time period.

View our latest analysis for Bank of China

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Bank of China actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 0.2% per year. So it doesn’t seem like EPS is a great guide to understanding how the market is valuing the stock. Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.

By glancing at these numbers, we’d posit that the the market had expectations of much higher growth, five years ago. Looking to other metrics might better explain the share price change.

We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

SEHK:3988 Income Statement, February 5th 2020
SEHK:3988 Income Statement, February 5th 2020

Bank of China is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. If you are thinking of buying or selling Bank of China stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst consensus estimates for future profits.

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. As it happens, Bank of China’s TSR for the last 5 years was -6.1%, 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 regret to report that Bank of China shareholders are down 9.9% for the year (even including dividends) . Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 5.5%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 1.3% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Bank of China better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that Bank of China is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , 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 HK exchanges.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.