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While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Shoe Zone plc (LON:SHOE) share price up 14% in a single quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 61% in that half decade.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
In the last half decade Shoe Zone saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. But we would generally expect a lower price, given the situation.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Shoe Zone's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for Shoe Zone shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 49%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Shoe Zone had a tough year, with a total loss of 17%, against a market gain of about 22%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Shoe Zone (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 GB 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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