American Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMSW.A) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 19% in the last quarter. But the silver lining is the stock is up over five years. In that time, it is up 62%, which isn't bad, but is below the market return of 70%. While the long term returns are impressive, we do have some sympathy for those who bought more recently, given the 27% drop, in the last year.
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.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, American Software actually saw its EPS drop 5.3% per year.
Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
The revenue growth of 2.2% per year hardly seems impressive. So why is the share price up? It's not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company's progress over time might 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).
We know that American Software has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. We note that for American Software the TSR over the last 5 years was 88%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that American Software shareholders are down 26% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 17%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 13%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 3 warning signs we've spotted with American Software .
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.