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 are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term United-Guardian, Inc. (NASDAQ:UG) shareholders, since the share price is down 20% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 64%. It's up 1.2% in the last seven days.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
United-Guardian saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 4.9% per year, over the last three years. This reduction in EPS is slower than the 7% annual reduction in the share price. So it's likely that the EPS decline has disappointed the market, leaving investors hesitant to buy.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
This free interactive report on United-Guardian's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for United-Guardian the TSR over the last 3 years was -5.7%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
United-Guardian shareholders are up 0.6% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 3% a year, over half a decade) look better. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. 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. Even so, be aware that United-Guardian is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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