For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term HomeChoice International plc (JSE:HIL) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 35% in three years, versus a market return of about 30%. And the share price decline continued over the last week, dropping some 17%.
With the stock having lost 17% in the past week, it's worth taking a look at business performance and seeing if there's any red flags.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
HomeChoice International saw its EPS decline at a compound rate of 32% per year, over the last three years. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 13% compound annual share price fall. So, despite the prior disappointment, shareholders must have some confidence the situation will improve, longer term.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. 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. 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. In the case of HomeChoice International, it has a TSR of -31% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
HomeChoice International shareholders are up 7.8% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it is certainly better than the yearly loss of about 2% endured over half a decade. It could well be that the business is stabilizing. 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 3 warning signs for HomeChoice International (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
HomeChoice International is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on ZA exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.