In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers So we wouldn't blame long term Asset Plus Limited (NZSE:APL) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 53% over a half decade.
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 markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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, Asset Plus moved from a loss to profitability. 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.
The most recent dividend was actually lower than it was in the past, so that may have sent the share price lower. The revenue decline of about 5.3% per year might also encourage sellers.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Asset Plus the TSR over the last 5 years was -31%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While it's certainly disappointing to see that Asset Plus shares lost 1.8% throughout the year, that wasn't as bad as the market loss of 2.0%. Of far more concern is the 6% p.a. loss served to shareholders over the last five years. While the losses are slowing we doubt many shareholders are happy with the stock. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Asset Plus better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Asset Plus (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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 NZ exchanges.
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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