WH Smith PLC (LON:SMWH) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 11% in the last quarter. But looking back over the last year, the returns have actually been rather pleasing! In that time we've seen the stock easily surpass the market return, with a gain of 59%.
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 last year WH Smith saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop below zero. While some may see this as temporary, we're a skeptical bunch, and so we're a little surprised to see the share price go up. We might get a clue to explain the share price move by looking to other metrics.
WH Smith's revenue actually dropped 52% over last year. So the fundamental metrics don't provide an obvious explanation for the share price gain.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that WH Smith shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 59% over the last year. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 3%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 - WH Smith has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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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