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The past five years for Jiangsu Expressway (HKG:177) investors has not been profitable

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks . So we wouldn't blame long term Jiangsu Expressway Company Limited (HKG:177) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 30% over a half decade.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

Check out our latest analysis for Jiangsu Expressway

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 unfortunate half decade during which the share price slipped, Jiangsu Expressway actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 2.1% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

Based on these numbers, we'd venture that the market may have been over-optimistic about forecast growth, half a decade ago. Having said that, we might get a better idea of what's going on with the stock by looking at other metrics.

We note that the dividend has remained healthy, so that wouldn't really explain the share price drop. It's not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

SEHK:177 Earnings and Revenue Growth June 30th 2022

Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Jiangsu Expressway, it has a TSR of -13% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While it's never nice to take a loss, Jiangsu Expressway shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 11% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 19%. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it's worse than the annualised loss of 3% over the last half decade. While some investors do well specializing in buying companies that are struggling (but nonetheless undervalued), don't forget that Buffett said that 'turnarounds seldom turn'. 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. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Jiangsu Expressway that you should be aware of before investing here.

We will like Jiangsu Expressway better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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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