Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. Investors in Zhengye International Holdings Company Limited (HKG:3363) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 22%. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 5.5%. At least the damage isn't so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 2.2% in that time. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 17% in the last three months.
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.
Unhappily, Zhengye International Holdings had to report a 25% decline in EPS over the last year. We note that the 22% share price drop is very close to the EPS drop. Given the lower EPS we might have expected investors to lose confidence in the stock, but that doesn't seemed to have happened. Rather, the share price is remains a similar multiple of the EPS, suggesting the outlook remains the same.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Zhengye International Holdings's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Zhengye International Holdings, it has a TSR of -15% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Zhengye International Holdings shareholders are down 15% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 5.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 8.1% 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. Before forming an opinion on Zhengye International Holdings you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
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 HK exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.