When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. Furthermore, you'd generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market But Britvic plc (LON:BVIC) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 18% over five years, which is below the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 16% in the last year.
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. 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.
Britvic's earnings per share are down 3.2% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
Since EPS is down a bit, and the share price is up, it's probably that the market previously had some concerns about the company, but the reality has been better than feared. In the long term, though, it will be hard for the share price rises to continue without improving EPS.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Britvic has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? You could check out this free report showing analyst revenue 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Britvic, it has a TSR of 40% for the last 5 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
While the broader market lost about 5.7% in the twelve months, Britvic shareholders did even worse, losing 14% (even including dividends). 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 7%, 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 - Britvic has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
But note: Britvic may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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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