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Columbia Financial's (NASDAQ:CLBK) three-year total shareholder returns outpace the underlying earnings growth

Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. That's what has happened with the Columbia Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLBK) share price. It's up 20% over three years, but that is below the market return. Unfortunately, the share price has fallen 6.0% over twelve months.

While the stock has fallen 8.0% this week, it's worth focusing on the longer term and seeing if the stocks historical returns have been driven by the underlying fundamentals.

Check out our latest analysis for Columbia Financial

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Columbia Financial was able to grow its EPS at 17% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. The average annual share price increase of 6% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock.

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Columbia Financial's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Different Perspective

While it's never nice to take a loss, Columbia Financial shareholders can take comfort that their trailing twelve month loss of 6.0% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around -7.7%. Shareholders who have held for three years might be relatively sanguine about the recent weakness, given they have made 6% per year for three years. Given the three year returns are better than the return over the last year, it might be that the broader market has weighed on the stock recently. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Columbia Financial by clicking this link.

Columbia Financial is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.

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