Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market – but in the process, they risk under-performance. For example, the Forterra plc (LON:FORT) share price is down 18% in the last year. That’s disappointing when you consider the market declined 1.5%. Looking at the longer term, the stock is down 17% over three years.
Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they’ve been consistent with returns.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it’s a weighing machine. 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.
Forterra managed to increase earnings per share from a loss to a profit, over the last 12 months.
When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action. But we may find different metrics more enlightening.
Forterra’s dividend seems healthy to us, so we doubt that the yield is a concern for the market. The revenue trend doesn’t seem to explain why the share price is down. Unless, of course, the market was expecting a revenue uptick.
The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Forterra is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Forterra will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Forterra shareholders are down 16% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 1.5%. Having said that, it’s inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 1.0% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Forterra better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example – Forterra has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
But note: Forterra may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.