It’s nice to see the Lifetime Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LCUT) share price up 26% in a week. But if you look at the last five years the returns have not been good. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 44% in that half decade.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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).
We know that Lifetime Brands has been profitable in the past. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The modest 1.9% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 4.3% a year in the five year period. A more detailed examination of the revenue and earnings may or may not explain why the share price languishes; there could be an opportunity.
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Lifetime Brands’s TSR for the last 5 years was -41%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Lifetime Brands shareholders are down 15% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 4.2%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 9.9% over the last half decade. 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. You might want to assess this data-rich visualization of its earnings, revenue and cash flow.
We will like Lifetime Brands better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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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