If You Had Bought Marks and Spencer Group (LON:MKS) Stock Five Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 59% Loss, Today

Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON:MKS) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 14% in the last month. But that doesn’t change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 59% in that half decade.

View our latest analysis for Marks and Spencer Group

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 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, Marks and Spencer Group’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 42% each year. The share price decline of 17% per year isn’t as bad as the EPS decline. So investors might expect EPS to bounce back — or they may have previously foreseen the EPS decline. With a P/E ratio of 92.80, it’s fair to say the market sees a brighter future for the business.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time.

LSE:MKS Past and Future Earnings, November 8th 2019
LSE:MKS Past and Future Earnings, November 8th 2019

It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Marks and Spencer Group’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Marks and Spencer Group, it has a TSR of -46% 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 gained around 8.2% in the last year, Marks and Spencer Group shareholders lost 32% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 12% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Marks and Spencer Group by clicking this link.

Marks and Spencer Group is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Thank you for reading.