The three-year shareholder returns and company earnings persist lower as Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) stock falls a further 5.0% in past week

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 14, 2022
ASX:CGC
Source: Shutterstock

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. We regret to report that long term Costa Group Holdings Limited (ASX:CGC) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 43% in three years, versus a market return of about 48%. And over the last year the share price fell 28%, so we doubt many shareholders are delighted.

Since Costa Group Holdings has shed AU$70m from its value in the past 7 days, let's see if the longer term decline has been driven by the business' economics.

Check out our latest analysis for Costa Group Holdings

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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During five years of share price growth, Costa Group Holdings moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.

Revenue is actually up 6.0% over the three years, so the share price drop doesn't seem to hinge on revenue, either. This analysis is just perfunctory, but it might be worth researching Costa Group Holdings more closely, as sometimes stocks fall unfairly. This could present an opportunity.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
ASX:CGC Earnings and Revenue Growth January 14th 2022

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Costa Group Holdings will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Costa Group Holdings' TSR for the last 3 years was -36%, 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 gained around 16% in the last year, Costa Group Holdings shareholders lost 26% (even including dividends). 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 0.2% 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. 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 2 warning signs for Costa Group Holdings you should be aware of.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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 AU exchanges.

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