Peugeot S.A. (EPA:UG) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 17% in the last quarter. On the other hand the returns over the last half decade have not been bad. The share price is up 73%, which is better than the market return of 69%.
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 five years of share price growth, Peugeot moved from a loss to profitability. That's generally thought to be a genuine positive, so we would expect to see an increasing share price. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. Indeed, the Peugeot share price has gained 18% in three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 23% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 5.7% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days. This unenthusiastic sentiment is reflected in the stock's reasonably modest P/E ratio of 5.61.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Peugeot has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. In the case of Peugeot, it has a TSR of 89% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Peugeot shareholders are down 3.1% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 29%. 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 14% 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. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Peugeot .
We will like Peugeot better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on FR exchanges.
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