Did CNP Assurances's (EPA:CNP) Share Price Deserve to Gain 24%?

Simply Wall St

While CNP Assurances SA (EPA:CNP) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 13% in the last quarter. But at least the stock is up over the last three years. In that time, it is up 24%, which isn't bad, but not amazing either.

See our latest analysis for CNP Assurances

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.

CNP Assurances was able to grow its EPS at 7.7% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 7.4% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that sentiment and expectations have not changed drastically. Au contraire, the share price change has arguably mimicked the EPS growth.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

ENXTPA:CNP Past and Future Earnings, September 12th 2019

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?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of CNP Assurances, it has a TSR of 41% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

CNP Assurances shareholders are down 6.4% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 7.1%. 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 8.0% 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 CNP Assurances you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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