Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. For example, the Kunlun Energy Company Limited (HKG:135) share price is down 19% in the last year. That’s well bellow the market return of 10%. On the bright side, the stock is actually up 15% in the last three years.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Unhappily, Kunlun Energy had to report a 12% decline in EPS over the last year. The share price decline of 19% is actually more than the EPS drop. Unsurprisingly, given the lack of EPS growth, the market seems to be more cautious about the stock. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 10.72.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. 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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Kunlun Energy’s TSR for the last year was -16%, 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
Investors in Kunlun Energy had a tough year, with a total loss of 16% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 10%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 0.4%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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 Kunlun Energy you should know about.
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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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