Stock Analysis

Did You Participate In Any Of Santam's (JSE:SNT) Respectable 86% Return?

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JSE:SNT
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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. To wit, the Santam share price has climbed 51% in five years, easily topping the market return of 6.5% (ignoring dividends).

See our latest analysis for Santam

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, Santam actually saw its EPS drop 6.8% per year.

Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

On the other hand, Santam's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 6.9% over the last five years. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
JSE:SNT Earnings and Revenue Growth January 28th 2021

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Santam stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We've already covered Santam's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for Santam shareholders, and that cash payout contributed to why its TSR of 86%, over the last 5 years, is better than the share price return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 8.7% in the last year, Santam shareholders lost 4.3%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 13% per year over half a decade. 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. 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. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Santam that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on ZA exchanges.

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