STM Group Plc (LON:STM) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 18% in the last month. But that doesn't help the fact that the three year return is less impressive. In fact, the share price is down 45% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return.
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.
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, STM Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 21% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn't explain the share price drop. We like that STM Group has actually grown its revenue over the last three years. But it's not clear to us why the share price is down. It might be worth diving deeper into the fundamentals, lest an opportunity goes begging.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that STM Group has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? If you are thinking of buying or selling STM Group stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. As it happens, STM Group's TSR for the last 3 years was -38%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in STM Group had a tough year, with a total loss of 41% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 11%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 4.2%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks, for example - STM Group has 4 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
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.
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. Thank you for reading.
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