Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. Investors in Portland General Electric Company (NYSE:POR) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 36%. That's disappointing when you consider the market returned 21%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so bad, with the stock down 23% in the last three years. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 17% in the last three months.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the unfortunate twelve months during which the Portland General Electric share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 18%. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth.
It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. So it's easy to justify a look at some other metrics.
Portland General Electric'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. Of course, it could simply be that it simply fell short of the market consensus expectations.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Portland General Electric has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Portland General Electric, it has a TSR of -34% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Portland General Electric shareholders are down 34% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 21%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 2%, each year, over five years. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Portland General Electric better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Portland General Electric you should know about.
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 US exchanges.
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. 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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