Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Healthpeak Properties, Inc. (NYSE:PEAK) share price is up 32% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. On the other hand, the more recent gain of 27% over a year is certainly pleasing.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 three years of share price growth, Healthpeak Properties moved from a loss to profitability. So we would expect a higher share price over the period.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Healthpeak Properties, it has a TSR of 52% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Healthpeak Properties shareholders are up 33% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 6% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Take risks, for example - Healthpeak Properties has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think you should know about.
We will like Healthpeak Properties 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 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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