The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. Investors in StepStone Group Inc. (NASDAQ:STEP) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 21%. That's disappointing when you consider the market declined 12%. We wouldn't rush to judgement on StepStone Group because we don't have a long term history to look at. In the last ninety days we've seen the share price slide 26%. However, one could argue that the price has been influenced by the general market, which is down 12% in the same timeframe.
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.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Even though the StepStone Group share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
It's surprising to see the share price fall so much, despite the improved EPS. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
StepStone Group managed to grow revenue over the last year, which is usually a real positive. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. You can see what analysts are predicting for StepStone Group in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
We doubt StepStone Group shareholders are happy with the loss of 20% over twelve months (even including dividends). That falls short of the market, which lost 12%. There's no doubt that's a disappointment, but the stock may well have fared better in a stronger market. It's worth noting that the last three months did the real damage, with a 26% decline. So it seems like some holders have been dumping the stock of late - and that's not bullish. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for StepStone Group that you should be aware of.
Of course StepStone Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.