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Investors in British Land (LON:BLND) from five years ago are still down 25%, even after 11% gain this past week

British Land Company PLC (LON:BLND) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 13% in the last month. But if you look at the last five years the returns have not been good. In fact, the share price is down 39%, which falls well short of the return you could get by buying an index fund.

While the last five years has been tough for British Land shareholders, this past week has shown signs of promise. So let's look at the longer term fundamentals and see if they've been the driver of the negative returns.

Check out our latest analysis for British Land

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.

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British Land became profitable within the last five years. On the other hand, it reported a trailing twelve months loss, suggesting it isn't reliably profitable. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline. The revenue decline of about 12% per year might also encourage sellers.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, British Land's TSR for the last 5 years was -25%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 0.6% in the last year, British Land shareholders lost 5.8% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 5% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with British Land (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

British Land is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 British exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.