Investing in stocks comes with the risk that the share price will fall. Anyone who held CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT) over the last year knows what a loser feels like. In that relatively short period, the share price has plunged 63%. Notably, shareholders had a tough run over the longer term, too, with a drop of 61% in the last three years. Even worse, it’s down 17% in about a month, which isn’t fun at all.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it’s a weighing machine. 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.
During the last year CIT Group saw its earnings per share drop below zero. Some investors no doubt dumped the stock as a result. We hope for shareholders’ sake that the company becomes profitable again soon.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on CIT Group’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there’s a difference between CIT Group’s total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we’ve covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for CIT Group shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 61%, over the last year, isn’t as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
CIT Group shareholders are down 61% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 11%. 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 9.1% 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We’ve spotted 3 warning signs for CIT Group you should be aware of.
CIT Group is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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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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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