While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Pendragon PLC (LON:PDG) share price up 16% in a single quarter. But that is little comfort to those holding over the last half decade, sitting on a big loss. In fact, the share price has declined rather badly, down some 66% in that time. So we're not so sure if the recent bounce should be celebrated. We'd err towards caution given the long term under-performance.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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).
In the last half decade Pendragon saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. At present it's hard to make valid comparisons between EPS and the share price. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Pendragon's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Pendragon's 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. Dividends have been really beneficial for Pendragon shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 58%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 14% in the last year, Pendragon shareholders lost 50%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 16% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Pendragon (including 1 which is is potentially serious) .
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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