It is doubtless a positive to see that the Rocket Companies, Inc. (NYSE:RKT) share price has gained some 35% in the last three months. But in truth the last year hasn't been good for the share price. In fact, the price has declined 26% in a year, falling short of the returns you could get by investing in an index fund.
It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
Unhappily, Rocket Companies had to report a 71% decline in EPS over the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 26% the share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have expected earnings to drop faster.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Rocket Companies' TSR for the last 1 year was -20%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We doubt Rocket Companies shareholders are happy with the loss of 20% over twelve months (even including dividends). That falls short of the market, which lost 7.7%. There's no doubt that's a disappointment, but the stock may well have fared better in a stronger market. Putting aside the last twelve months, it's good to see the share price has rebounded by 35%, in the last ninety days. This could just be a bounce because the selling was too aggressive, but fingers crossed it's the start of a new trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Rocket Companies better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Rocket Companies that you should be aware of.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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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