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Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) Share Prices Have Dropped 37% In The Last Three Years

Simply Wall St
·4-min read

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 37% in three years, versus a market return of about 18%. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 35% in the last year. Unhappily, the share price slid 1.6% in the last week.

Check out our latest analysis for Suncorp Group

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.

During the three years that the share price fell, Suncorp Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 17% each year. This fall in EPS isn't far from the rate of share price decline, which was 14% per year. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time, despite the disappointment. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Suncorp Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Suncorp Group the TSR over the last 3 years was -25%, 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 the broader market lost about 2.1% in the twelve months, Suncorp Group shareholders did even worse, losing 33% (even including dividends). However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 3% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Suncorp Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Suncorp Group (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

Suncorp Group 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 AU exchanges.

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. 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.

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