While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Pental Limited (ASX:PTL) share price has gained 20% in the last three months. But that doesn’t help the fact that the three year return is less impressive. In fact, the share price is down 54% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
Pental saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it’s hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we’d expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Dive deeper into Pental’s key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Pental’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Pental the TSR over the last 3 years was -47%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 11% in the last year, Pental shareholders lost 8.8% (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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 1.0% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Before spending more time on Pental it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
But note: Pental may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.