As an investor its worth striving to ensure your overall portfolio beats the market average. 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 Computer Modelling Group Ltd. (TSE:CMG) shareholders, since the share price is down 48% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 12%. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 39% in the last year. On top of that, the share price is down 6.3% in the last week.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 three years that the share price fell, Computer Modelling Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 0.02% each year. This reduction in EPS is slower than the 20% annual reduction in the share price. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past.
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 Computer Modelling Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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, Computer Modelling Group's TSR for the last 3 years was -40%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 4.2% in the last year, Computer Modelling Group shareholders lost 36% (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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 6% 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. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Computer Modelling Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 CA 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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