In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term BSA Limited (ASX:BSA) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 45% over a half decade. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 36% in the last year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 22% in the last three months.
Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they've been consistent with returns.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
BSA became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.
We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. While it's not completely obvious why the share price is down, a closer look at the company's history might help explain it.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Take a more thorough look at BSA's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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. In the case of BSA, it has a TSR of -38% 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
Investors in BSA had a tough year, with a total loss of 34% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 11%. 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 7% over the last half decade. 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. 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 6 warning signs with BSA , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Of course BSA may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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.