UK markets open in 3 hours 22 minutes

Such Is Life: How Senior (LON:SNR) Shareholders Saw Their Shares Drop 53%

Simply Wall St

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term Senior plc (LON:SNR) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 53% over a half decade. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 31% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 11% in the last 90 days.

View our latest analysis for Senior

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.

During the five years over which the share price declined, Senior's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 9.4% each year. This reduction in EPS is less than the 14% annual reduction in the share price. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

LSE:SNR Past and Future Earnings, February 19th 2020

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Senior's TSR for the last 5 years was -46%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 12% in the last year, Senior shareholders lost 28% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 11% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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 1 warning sign with Senior , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.