The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Railcare Group AB (publ) (STO:RAIL) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 27%. That's well below the market return of 45%. On the bright side, the stock is actually up 11% in the last three years. And the share price decline continued over the last week, dropping some 12%.
Since Railcare Group has shed kr62m from its value in the past 7 days, let's see if the longer term decline has been driven by the business' economics.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Even though the Railcare Group share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It could be that the share price was previously over-hyped.
It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
Revenue was pretty flat on last year, which isn't too bad. But the share price might be lower because the market expected a meaningful improvement, and got none.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It is of course excellent to see how Railcare Group has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on Railcare Group's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Railcare Group's TSR for the last 1 year was -24%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Railcare Group had a tough year, with a total loss of 24% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 45%. 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 1.1% 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we've discovered 4 warning signs for Railcare Group that you should be aware of before investing here.
We will like Railcare Group better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SE exchanges.
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