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Anhui Conch Cement (HKG:914) Sheds HK$6.3b, Company Earnings and Investor Returns Have Been Trending Downwards for Past Five Years

Simply Wall St ·  Jun 7 19:55

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn't blame long term Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited (HKG:914) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 61% over a half decade. The last week also saw the share price slip down another 6.2%.

Given the past week has been tough on shareholders, let's investigate the fundamentals and see what we can learn.

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.

Looking back five years, both Anhui Conch Cement's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 21% per year. The share price decline of 17% per year isn't as bad as the EPS decline. So investors might expect EPS to bounce back -- or they may have previously foreseen the EPS decline.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
SEHK:914 Earnings Per Share Growth June 7th 2024

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. 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). 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. We note that for Anhui Conch Cement the TSR over the last 5 years was -48%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Anhui Conch Cement shareholders are down 10% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 5.1%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 8% doled out over the last five years. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Anhui Conch Cement .

We will like Anhui Conch Cement better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of undervalued stocks (mostly small caps) 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 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.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of any specific investment or investment strategy. Read more
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