While Australian Finance Group Limited (ASX:AFG) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn’t had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 14% in the last quarter. On the bright side the share price is up over the last half decade. In that time, it is up 51%, which isn’t bad, but is below the market return of 56%. While the long term returns are impressive, we do have some sympathy for those who bought more recently, given the 32% drop, in the last year.
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.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
During five years of share price growth, Australian Finance Group achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 13% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 9% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock. The reasonably low P/E ratio of 9.07 also suggests market apprehension.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Australian Finance Group’s TSR for the last 5 years was 121%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Australian Finance Group had a tough year, with a total loss of 28% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 4.2%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 17% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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 be aware of the 1 warning sign we’ve spotted with Australian Finance Group .
Australian Finance Group is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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.