Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. For example, the Napier Port Holdings Limited (NZSE:NPH) share price is down 14% in the last year. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 9.9%. Napier Port Holdings hasn't been listed for long, so although we're wary of recent listings that perform poorly, it may still prove itself with time.
With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
Even though the Napier Port Holdings share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth.
It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
Given the yield is quite low, at 1.8%, we doubt the dividend can shed much light on the share price. Napier Port Holdings managed to grow revenue over the last year, which is usually a real positive. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Napier Port Holdings has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. As it happens, Napier Port Holdings' TSR for the last 1 year was -12%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While Napier Port Holdings shareholders are down 12% for the year (even including dividends), the market itself is up 9.9%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. With the stock down 2.8% over the last three months, the market doesn't seem to believe that the company has solved all its problems. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. 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. Take risks, for example - Napier Port Holdings has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
But note: Napier Port Holdings may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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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