In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term RM Secured Direct Lending plc (LON:RMDL) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 14% in three years, versus a market decline of about 11%. It's down 1.4% in the last seven days.
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 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.
RM Secured Direct Lending saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Due to the loss, it's not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. But it's safe to say we'd generally expect the share price to be lower as a result!
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for RM Secured Direct Lending the TSR over the last 3 years was 4.7%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
RM Secured Direct Lending produced a TSR of 0.6% over the last year. While you don't go broke making a profit, this return was actually lower than the average market return of about 7.0%. But the (superior) three-year TSR of 1.5% per year is some consolation. We prefer focus on longer term returns, as they are usually a more meaningful indication of the underlying 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. To that end, you should learn about the 4 warning signs we've spotted with RM Secured Direct Lending (including 1 which can't be ignored) .
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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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