Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, long term Ricegrowers Limited (ASX:SGLLV) shareholders have enjoyed a 53% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 30% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 7.7% , including dividends .
With that in mind, it’s worth seeing if the company’s underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During five years of share price growth, Ricegrowers actually saw its EPS drop 15% per year.
This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Because earnings per share don’t seem to match up with the share price, we’ll take a look at other metrics instead.
It is not great to see that revenue has dropped by 1.6% per year over five years. It certainly surprises us that the share price is up, but perhaps a closer examination of the data will yield answers.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Take a more thorough look at Ricegrowers’ financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Ricegrowers, it has a TSR of 110% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Ricegrowers shareholders are up 7.7% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 16% per year for five years. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Ricegrowers you should know about.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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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.