In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn’t blame long term Aegon N.V. (AMS:AGN) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 26% over a half decade.
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.
While the share price declined over five years, Aegon actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 11% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past. Due to the lack of correlation between the EPS growth and the falling share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movement.
The steady dividend doesn’t really explain why the share price is down. While it’s not completely obvious why the share price is down, a closer look at the company’s history might help explain it.
The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.
Aegon is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Aegon will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Aegon, it has a TSR of -6.1% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Aegon had a tough year, with a total loss of 11% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 6.8%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 1.3% 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. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at Aegon’s dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.
Of course Aegon may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NL exchanges.
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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. Thank you for reading.