In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Weyco Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:WEYS) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 37% in three years, versus a market return of about 49%. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 30% lower in that time. The good news is that the stock is up 3.7% in the last week.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
Over the three years that the share price declined, Weyco Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped significantly, falling to a loss. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. Due to the loss, it's not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into Weyco Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Weyco Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Weyco Group the TSR over the last 3 years was -29%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 24% in the last year, Weyco Group shareholders lost 27% (even including dividends). 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 4% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Weyco Group (of which 1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) you should know about.
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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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