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 P.I.E. Industrial Berhad (KLSE:PIE) shareholders, since the share price is down 36% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around -7.1%. Unhappily, the share price slid 3.6% in the last week.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 unfortunate three years of share price decline, P.I.E. Industrial Berhad actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 0.5% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.
It’s pretty reasonable to suspect the market was previously to bullish on the stock, and has since moderated expectations. Looking to other metrics might better explain the share price change.
Revenue is actually up 3.1% over the three years, so the share price drop doesn’t seem to hinge on revenue, either. It’s probably worth investigating P.I.E. Industrial Berhad further; while we may be missing something on this analysis, there might also be an opportunity.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for P.I.E. Industrial Berhad the TSR over the last 3 years was -29%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 9.0% in the twelve months, P.I.E. Industrial Berhad shareholders did even worse, losing 14% (even including dividends) . However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there’s a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 3.4%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for P.I.E. Industrial Berhad you should know about.
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 MY exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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