In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term First Resources Limited ( SGX:EB5 ) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 24% over a half decade.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the five years over which the share price declined, First Resources's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 16% each year. This fall in the EPS is worse than the 5.3% compound annual share price fall. So investors might expect EPS to bounce back -- or they may have previously foreseen the EPS decline.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here. .
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 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 First Resources the TSR over the last 5 years was -15%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 0.06% in the last year, First Resources shareholders lost 3.7% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 3.3% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. Is First Resources cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SG 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.