Shareholders in Saputo (TSE:SAP) are in the red if they invested five years ago

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 31, 2021
TSX:SAP
Source: Shutterstock

The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Saputo Inc. (TSE:SAP), since the last five years saw the share price fall 40%. Furthermore, it's down 11% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.

Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they've been consistent with returns.

See our latest analysis for Saputo

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 five years over which the share price declined, Saputo's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 8.5% each year. This change in EPS is reasonably close to the 10% average annual decrease in the share price. This suggests that market participants have not changed their view of the company all that much. So it's fair to say the share price has been responding to changes in EPS.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
TSX:SAP Earnings Per Share Growth December 31st 2021

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Saputo's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Saputo the TSR over the last 5 years was -34%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Investors in Saputo had a tough year, with a total loss of 18% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 25%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 6% 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. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Saputo .

Saputo is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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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