The three-year decline in earnings might be taking its toll on HKBN (HKG:1310) shareholders as stock falls 4.3% over the past week

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 23, 2022
SEHK:1310
Source: Shutterstock

Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term HKBN Ltd. (HKG:1310) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 16% in three years, versus a market decline of about 5.8%.

If the past week is anything to go by, investor sentiment for HKBN isn't positive, so let's see if there's a mismatch between fundamentals and the share price.

View our latest analysis for HKBN

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 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.

HKBN saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 26% per year, over the last three years. In comparison the 6% compound annual share price decline isn't as bad as the EPS drop-off. So, despite the prior disappointment, shareholders must have some confidence the situation will improve, longer term. With a P/E ratio of 64.67, it's fair to say the market sees a brighter future for the business.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
SEHK:1310 Earnings Per Share Growth February 23rd 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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on HKBN's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, HKBN's TSR for the last 3 years was 1.2%, 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

It's nice to see that HKBN shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 1.1% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 8% per year, is even more impressive. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand HKBN better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with HKBN (including 2 which can't be ignored) .

HKBN 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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