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Earnings are growing at Finning International (TSE:FTT) but shareholders still don't like its prospects

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 Finning International Inc. (TSE:FTT) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 24%. That falls noticeably short of the market decline of around 5.8%. Longer term investors have fared much better, since the share price is up 2.8% in three years. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 15% in thirty days. However, we note the price may have been impacted by the broader market, which is down 8.2% in the same time period.

With the stock having lost 11% in the past week, it's worth taking a look at business performance and seeing if there's any red flags.

See our latest analysis for Finning International

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. 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 Finning International share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 34%. It could be that the share price was previously over-hyped.

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.

Finning International's revenue is actually up 22% over the last year. Since we can't easily explain the share price movement based on these metrics, it might be worth considering how market sentiment has changed towards the stock.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

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. If you are thinking of buying or selling Finning International stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Finning International, it has a TSR of -22% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 5.8% in the twelve months, Finning International shareholders did even worse, losing 22% (even including dividends). 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 0.7% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Finning International you should be aware of, and 1 of them is potentially serious.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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