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. For example, the National Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:NKSH) share price is down 29% in the last year. That contrasts poorly with the market return of -10%. Longer term shareholders haven't suffered as badly, since the stock is down a comparatively less painful 19% in three years. It's down 34% in about a quarter. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 21% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 National Bankshares share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. 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.
We don't see any weakness in the National Bankshares's dividend so the steady payout can't really explain the share price drop. From what we can see, revenue is pretty flat, so that doesn't really explain the share price drop. Unless, of course, the market was expecting a revenue uptick.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for National Bankshares in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for National Bankshares the TSR over the last year was -27%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that National Bankshares shareholders are down 27% for the year (even including dividends) . Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 10%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 3.9% per year over half a decade. 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. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for National Bankshares (of which 1 doesn't sit too well with us!) you should know about.
National Bankshares is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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