Did Changing Sentiment Drive BNP Paribas's (EPA:BNP) Share Price Down By 16%?

Simply Wall St

For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 16% in three years, versus a market return of about 32%. The last week also saw the share price slip down another 10%. However, this move may have been influenced by the broader market, which fell 6.6% in that time.

Check out our latest analysis for BNP Paribas

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.

Although the share price is down over three years, BNP Paribas actually managed to grow EPS by 1.1% per year in that time. 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.

After considering the numbers, we'd posit that the the market had higher expectations of EPS growth, three years back. But it's possible a look at other metrics will be enlightening.

We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn't explain the share price drop. Revenue has been pretty flat over three years, so that isn't an obvious reason shareholders would sell. So it might be worth looking at how revenue growth over time, in greater detail.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

ENXTPA:BNP Income Statement, February 27th 2020

BNP Paribas is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, BNP Paribas's TSR for the last 3 years was -1.1%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that BNP Paribas shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 17% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 3.4% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 BNP Paribas that you should be aware of before investing here.

But note: BNP Paribas may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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