Investing in stocks inevitably means buying into some companies that perform poorly. But the last three years have been particularly tough on longer term China Communications Construction Company Limited (HKG:1800) shareholders. Regrettably, they have had to cope with a 57% drop in the share price over that period. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 37% lower in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 17% in the last 90 days.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the three years that the share price fell, China Communications Construction's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 1.5% each year. The share price decline of 24% is actually steeper than the EPS slippage. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past. This increased caution is also evident in the rather low P/E ratio, which is sitting at 3.15.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
This free interactive report on China Communications Construction's 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, China Communications Construction's TSR for the last 3 years was -51%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
China Communications Construction shareholders are down 33% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 24%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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. Even so, be aware that China Communications Construction is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is potentially serious...
If you are like me, then you will 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 HK exchanges.
When trading China Communications Construction or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.