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Those who invested in Sandy Spring Bancorp (NASDAQ:SASR) three years ago are up 27%

Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But in any diversified portfolio of stocks, you'll see some that fall short of the average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) share price is up 14% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Unfortunately, the share price has fallen 10% over twelve months.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

View our latest analysis for Sandy Spring Bancorp

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. 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).

During three years of share price growth, Sandy Spring Bancorp achieved compound earnings per share growth of 12% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 4% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 8.59.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Sandy Spring Bancorp the TSR over the last 3 years was 27%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While it's never nice to take a loss, Sandy Spring Bancorp shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 7.6% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 20%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 2% for each year. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. Before spending more time on Sandy Spring Bancorp it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

But note: Sandy Spring Bancorp 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 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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