The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn’t blame long term UBS Group AG (VTX:UBSG) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 53% over a half decade. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 18% in the last three months.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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, UBS Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 1.3% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.
Based on these numbers, we’d venture that the market may have been over-optimistic about forecast growth, half a decade ago. Having said that, we might get a better idea of what’s going on with the stock by looking at other metrics.
The revenue decline of 0.9% isn’t too bad. But it’s quite possible the market had expected better; a closer look at the revenue trends might explain the pessimism.
The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
UBS Group is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of UBS Group, it has a TSR of -40% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
UBS Group shareholders are down 16% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 4.1%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 9.7% per year over five years. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for UBS Group you should know about.
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 CH 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. Thank you for reading.