Stock Analysis

The five-year loss for PZ Cussons (LON:PZC) shareholders likely driven by its shrinking earnings

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LSE:PZC
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In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in PZ Cussons plc (LON:PZC), since the last five years saw the share price fall 40%. But it's up 6.4% in the last week.

Although the past week has been more reassuring for shareholders, they're still in the red over the last five years, so let's see if the underlying business has been responsible for the decline.

Our analysis indicates that PZC is potentially undervalued!

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the five years over which the share price declined, PZ Cussons' earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 4.2% each year. Readers should note that the share price has fallen faster than the EPS, at a rate of 10% per year, over the period. This implies that the market is more cautious about the business these days.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
LSE:PZC Earnings Per Share Growth October 28th 2022

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on PZ Cussons' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, PZ Cussons' TSR for the last 5 years was -30%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While it's certainly disappointing to see that PZ Cussons shares lost 3.2% throughout the year, that wasn't as bad as the market loss of 11%. Of far more concern is the 5% p.a. loss served to shareholders over the last five years. This sort of share price action isn't particularly encouraging, but at least the losses are slowing. 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. Take risks, for example - PZ Cussons has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether PZ Cussons is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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