Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. That downside risk was realized by Pepper Money Limited (ASX:PPM) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 31%. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 6.3%. Pepper Money hasn't been listed for long, so although we're wary of recent listings that perform poorly, it may still prove itself with time. Even worse, it's down 19% in about a month, which isn't fun at all.
So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.
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 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.
Unhappily, Pepper Money had to report a 8.2% decline in EPS over the last year. This reduction in EPS is not as bad as the 31% share price fall. This suggests the EPS fall has made some shareholders are more nervous about the business. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 6.09.
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?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Pepper Money the TSR over the last 1 year was -27%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While Pepper Money shareholders are down 27% for the year (even including dividends), the market itself is up 6.3%. While the aim is to do better than that, it's worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. Putting aside the last twelve months, it's good to see the share price has rebounded by 4.6%, in the last ninety days. This could just be a bounce because the selling was too aggressive, but fingers crossed it's the start of a new 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Pepper Money (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
We will like Pepper Money better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
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.