It’s nice to see the Kier Group plc (LON:KIE) share price up 22% in a week. But will that repair the damage for the weary investors who have owned this stock as it declined over half a decade? Probably not. Indeed, the share price is down a whopping 95% in that time. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we’re certainly hesitant to rejoice. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.
We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It’s a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it’s worth keeping in mind there’s more to life than money, anyway.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Over five years Kier Group’s earnings per share dropped significantly, falling to a loss, with the share price also lower. The recent extraordinary items contributed to this situation. At present it’s hard to make valid comparisons between EPS and the share price. But we would generally expect a lower price, given the situation.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into Kier Group’s key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Kier Group’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We’ve already covered Kier Group’s share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for Kier Group shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 92%, over the last 5 years, isn’t as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 15% in the twelve months, Kier Group shareholders did even worse, losing 76%. Having said that, it’s inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 39% 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. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Kier Group better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Kier Group (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
Of course Kier Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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