You can receive the average market return by buying a low-cost index fund. But you can make better returns by buying undervalued shares. To wit, Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPSI) shares are up 46% in three years, besting the market return. In contrast, the stock is actually down 11% in the last year, suggesting a lack of positive momentum.
Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Over the last three years, Computer Programs and Systems failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 0.3% (annualized).
Given the share price resilience, we don't think the (declining) EPS numbers are a good measure of how the business is moving forward, right now. So other metrics may hold the key to understanding what is influencing investors.
Do you think that shareholders are buying for the 2.0% per annum revenue growth trend? We don't. While we don't have an obvious theory to explain the share price rise, a closer look at the data might be enlightening.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About The Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Computer Programs and Systems' share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Computer Programs and Systems' TSR of 49% for the 3 years exceeded its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 8.9% in the twelve months, Computer Programs and Systems shareholders did even worse, losing 11%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 2% per year over half a decade. 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. Even so, be aware that Computer Programs and Systems is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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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