A.G. BARR p.l.c. (LON:BAG) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 14% in the last quarter. But that doesn't help the fact that the three year return is less impressive. After all, the share price is down 22% in the last three years, significantly under-performing the market.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 three years that the share price fell, A.G. BARR's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 14% each year. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 8% compound annual share price fall. This suggests that the market retains some optimism around long term earnings stability, despite past EPS declines.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between A.G. BARR's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. 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 A.G. BARR shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 18%, over the last 3 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 8.3% in the twelve months, A.G. BARR shareholders did even worse, losing 11%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 0.9%, 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. 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. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for A.G. BARR that you should be aware of before investing here.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
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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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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