If You Had Bought Slate Office REIT (TSE:SOT.UN) Stock Three Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 29% Loss, Today

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Slate Office REIT (TSE:SOT.UN) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 29% in three years, versus a market return of about 19%. The good news is that the stock is up 2.1% in the last week.

View our latest analysis for Slate Office REIT

To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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 three years that the share price fell, Slate Office REIT’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 10% each year. The 11% average annual share price decline is remarkably close to the EPS decline. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time, despite the disappointment. It seems like the share price is reflecting the declining earnings per share.

TSX:SOT.UN Past and Future Earnings, September 11th 2019
TSX:SOT.UN Past and Future Earnings, September 11th 2019

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Slate Office REIT’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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Slate Office REIT, it has a TSR of -6.1% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Slate Office REIT shareholders are down 18% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 2.2%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 3.5% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Slate Office REIT 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 CA 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.