Those who invested in Bouygues (EPA:EN) three years ago are up 4.4%

Simply Wall St
November 25, 2021
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In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Bouygues SA (EPA:EN) shareholders, since the share price is down 10% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 58%. It's down 12% in about a quarter. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

View our latest analysis for Bouygues

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.

Although the share price is down over three years, Bouygues actually managed to grow EPS by 0.06% per year in that time. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

With EPS gaining and a declining share price, one would suggest the market is cooling on its view of the company. Of course, this could spell opportunity because if the EPS growth continues long term, it seems very likely the share price will rise too.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

ENXTPA:EN Earnings Per Share Growth November 26th 2021

We know that Bouygues has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Bouygues will grow revenue in the future.

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Bouygues, it has a TSR of 4.4% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Investors in Bouygues had a tough year, with a total loss of 2.1% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 32%. 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 4% 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. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at Bouygues' dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.

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 FR exchanges.

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