Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. Unfortunately, that’s been the case for longer term PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ:PACW) shareholders, since the share price is down 36% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 49%.
To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, PacWest Bancorp actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 10% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
Since the change in EPS doesn’t seem to correlate with the change in share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics.
We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn’t explain the share price drop. We like that PacWest Bancorp has actually grown its revenue over the last three years. But it’s not clear to us why the share price is down. It might be worth diving deeper into the fundamentals, lest an opportunity goes begging.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling PacWest Bancorp stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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, PacWest Bancorp’s TSR for the last 3 years was -25%, 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
PacWest Bancorp shareholders are down 4.9% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 23%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 0.6% 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 PacWest Bancorp better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for PacWest Bancorp you should be aware of.
PacWest Bancorp 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 US 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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