Did Changing Sentiment Drive Fonterra Co-operative Group’s (NZSE:FCG) Share Price Down By 30%?

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn’t blame long term Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (NZSE:FCG) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 30% over a half decade. And it’s not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 24% in the last year.

Check out our latest analysis for Fonterra Co-operative Group

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Fonterra Co-operative Group became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it’s counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

The revenue decline of 1.1% isn’t too bad. But it’s quite possible the market had expected better; a closer look at the revenue trends might explain the pessimism.

You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).

NZSE:FCG Income Statement, April 8th 2019
NZSE:FCG Income Statement, April 8th 2019

You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

A Dividend Lost

The value of past dividends are accounted for in the total shareholder return (TSR), but not in the share price return mentioned above. In some ways, TSR is a better measure of how well an investment has performed. Fonterra Co-operative Group’s TSR over the last 5 years is -14%; better than its share price return. Although the company had to cut dividends, it has paid cash to shareholders in the past.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 15% in the last year, Fonterra Co-operative Group shareholders lost 24%. 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 2.9% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Before forming an opinion on Fonterra Co-operative Group you might want to consider these 3 valuation metrics.

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NZ exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.