If You Had Bought eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) Shares Five Years Ago You’d Have A Total Return Of 82%

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), since the last five years saw the share price fall 24%. It’s down 1.7% in the last seven days.

View our latest analysis for eBay

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 five years of share price growth, eBay moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

The modest 1.5% dividend yield is unlikely to be guiding the market view of the stock. In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 2.5% a year in the five year period. A more detailed examination of the revenue and earnings may or may not explain why the share price languishes; there could be an opportunity.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below.

NasdaqGS:EBAY Income Statement, October 8th 2019
NasdaqGS:EBAY Income Statement, October 8th 2019

It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for eBay in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, eBay’s TSR for the last 5 years was 82%, 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

It’s good to see that eBay has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 19% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 13%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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.

eBay 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.