In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Hengan International Group Company Limited (HKG:1044) shareholders, since the share price is down 36% in the last three years, falling well short of the market decline of around 6.5%. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 27% in the last year.
So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.
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...' 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.
During the three years that the share price fell, Hengan International Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 3.7% each year. The share price decline of 14% is actually steeper than the EPS slippage. So it's likely that the EPS decline has disappointed the market, leaving investors hesitant to buy. This increased caution is also evident in the rather low P/E ratio, which is sitting at 11.42.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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 Hengan International Group, it has a TSR of -26% for the last 3 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
Hengan International Group shareholders are down 23% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the market return of -21%. Unfortunately, last year's performance is a deterioration of an already poor long term track record, given the loss of 2% per year over the last five years. Weak performance over the long term usually destroys market confidence in a stock, but bargain hunters may want to take a closer look for signs of a turnaround. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Hengan International Group better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Hengan International Group that you should be aware of.
Hengan International 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 HK exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.