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The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But you can do a lot better than that by buying good quality businesses for attractive prices. For example, the Community West Bancshares (NASDAQ:CWBC) share price is 46% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 17% in the last year.
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 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).
Community West Bancshares’s earnings per share are down 5.1% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years. Essentially, it doesn’t seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Because earnings per share don’t seem to match up with the share price, we’ll take a look at other metrics instead.
In contrast revenue growth of 4.2% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Community West Bancshares is growing, a real positive. It’s quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
Depicted in the graphic below, you’ll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Community West Bancshares’s TSR for the last 5 years was 59%, 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
Investors in Community West Bancshares had a tough year, with a total loss of 16% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 7.2%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 9.7% per year over half a decade. 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 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.