While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Curtis Banks Group plc (LON:CBP) share price has gained 22% in the last three months. But over the last half decade, the stock has not performed well. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 21% in that half decade.
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...' 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.
During the unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Curtis Banks Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 6.3% per year. 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). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS.
It is unusual to see such modest share price growth in the face of sustained EPS improvements. We can look to other metrics to try to understand the situation better.
It could be that the revenue decline of 5.3% per year is viewed as evidence that Curtis Banks Group is shrinking. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Curtis Banks Group, it has a TSR of -10% 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
Curtis Banks Group shareholders gained a total return of 19% during the year. But that was short of the market average. But at least that's still a gain! Over five years the TSR has been a reduction of 2% per year, over five years. So this might be a sign the business has turned its fortunes around. 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 learn about the 6 warning signs we've spotted with Curtis Banks Group (including 1 which can't be ignored) .
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
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