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 Communications Co., Ltd. (HKG:3328) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 37% over a 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).
During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Bank of Communications actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 1.7% 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.
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 steady dividend doesn’t really explain why the share price is down. While it’s not completely obvious why the share price is down, a closer look at the company’s history might help explain it.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Bank of Communications is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
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, Bank of Communications’s TSR for the last 5 years was -20%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 6.9% in the twelve months, Bank of Communications shareholders did even worse, losing 20% (even including dividends) . 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. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 4.4% over the last half decade. 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 for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 1 warning sign with Bank of Communications , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK 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.
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