Buying a low-cost index fund will get you the average market return. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. That’s what has happened with the American Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMSW.A) share price. It’s up 33% over three years, but that is below the market return. Disappointingly, the share price is down 12% in the last year.
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.
Over the last three years, American Software failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 15% (annualized). So we doubt that the market is looking to EPS for its main judge of the company’s value. Given this situation, it makes sense to look at other metrics too.
We severely doubt anyone is particularly impressed with the modest 0.3% three-year revenue growth rate. So truth be told we can’t see an easy explanation for the share price action, but perhaps you can…
You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).
Balance sheet strength is crucual. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR incorporates the value of any discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for American Software the TSR over the last 3 years was 49%, 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
Investors in American Software had a tough year, with a total loss of 9.2% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 3.1%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 7.4%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. Keeping this in mind, a solid next step might be to take a look at American Software’s dividend track record. This free interactive graph is a great place to start.
We will like American Software 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.
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 email@example.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.