When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE:RE) share price is up 20% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Unfortunately the share price is down 13% in the last year.
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 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.
Everest Re Group's earnings per share are down 13% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
Since the EPS are down strongly, it seems highly unlikely market participants are looking at EPS to value the company. Given that EPS is down, but the share price is up, it seems clear the market is focussed on other aspects of the business, at the moment.
On the other hand, Everest Re Group's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 9.4% over the last five years. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
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. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Everest Re Group
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Everest Re Group the TSR over the last 5 years was 35%, 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 gained around 21% in the last year, Everest Re Group shareholders lost 11% (even including dividends). Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 6%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Everest Re Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - Everest Re Group has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
Everest Re 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 US 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.
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