Investors who have held Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) over the last three years have watched its earnings decline along with their investment

·3 min read

Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 18% in three years, versus a market decline of about 14%.

On a more encouraging note the company has added AU$82m to its market cap in just the last 7 days, so let's see if we can determine what's driven the three-year loss for shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Tassal Group

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.

During the three years that the share price fell, Tassal Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 17% each year. In comparison the 7% compound annual share price decline isn't as bad as the EPS drop-off. So, despite the prior disappointment, shareholders must have some confidence the situation will improve, longer term.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Tassal Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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 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. In the case of Tassal Group, it has a TSR of -6.5% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Tassal Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 15% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 5%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Tassal Group , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Tassal 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.

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