Select Medical Holdings (NYSE:SEM) Shareholders Booked A 20% Gain In The Last Three Years

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Investors can buy low cost index fund if they want to receive the average market return. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Select Medical Holdings Corporation (NYSE:SEM) share price is up 20% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Disappointingly, the share price is down 19% in the last year.

See our latest analysis for Select Medical Holdings

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.

During the three years of share price growth, Select Medical Holdings actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 2.1% per year. Given the share price resilience, we don’t think the (declining) EPS numbers are a good measure of how the business is moving forward, right now. Therefore, it makes sense to look into other metrics.

It could be that the revenue growth of 8.2% per year is viewed as evidence that Select Medical Holdings is growing. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth, and maybe shareholder’s faith in better days ahead will be rewarded.

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.

NYSE:SEM Income Statement, May 13th 2019
NYSE:SEM Income Statement, May 13th 2019

It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling Select Medical Holdings stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there’s a difference between Select Medical Holdings’s total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we’ve covered above. 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. Dividends have been really beneficial for Select Medical Holdings shareholders, and that cash payout contributed to why its TSR of 20%, over the last 3 years, is better than the share price return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 6.3% in the last year, Select Medical Holdings shareholders lost 19%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 1.4% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.

Select Medical Holdings is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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 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.