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. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Swire Pacific Limited (HKG:19), since the last five years saw the share price fall 41%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 19% in the last three months.
While the last five years has been tough for Swire Pacific shareholders, this past week has shown signs of promise. So let's look at the longer term fundamentals and see if they've been the driver of the negative returns.
See our latest analysis for Swire Pacific
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Swire Pacific became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The steady dividend doesn't really explain why the share price is down. While it's not completely obvious why the share price is down, a closer look at the company's history might help explain it.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It is of course excellent to see how Swire Pacific has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. Take a more thorough look at Swire Pacific's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Swire Pacific's TSR for the last 5 years was -16%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Swire Pacific shareholders are up 1.7% for the year (even including dividends). But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it is certainly better than the yearly loss of about 3% endured over half a decade. So this might be a sign the business has turned its fortunes around. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Swire Pacific better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Swire Pacific , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 Hong Kong exchanges.
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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.