While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) share price has gained 15% in the last three months. But that can’t change the reality that over the longer term (five years), the returns have been really quite dismal. The share price has failed to impress anyone , down a sizable 75% during that time. So we’re not so sure if the recent bounce should be celebrated. However, in the best case scenario (far from fait accompli), this improved performance might be sustained.
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 five years over which the share price declined, Macy’s’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 6.1% each year. This reduction in EPS is less than the 24% annual reduction in the share price. This implies that the market was previously too optimistic about the stock. The less favorable sentiment is reflected in its current P/E ratio of 5.45.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Macy’s’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Macy’s, it has a TSR of -68% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Macy’s shareholders are down 40% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 32%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 20% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Macy’s 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.