Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Watts International Maritime Engineering Limited (HKG:2258) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 23%. That's disappointing when you consider the market declined 8.2%. We wouldn't rush to judgement on Watts International Maritime Engineering because we don't have a long term history to look at. It's down 34% in about a quarter.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Unfortunately Watts International Maritime Engineering reported an EPS drop of 40% for the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 23% 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 below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
A Different Perspective
Watts International Maritime Engineering shareholders are down 22% for the year (even including dividends) , even worse than the market loss of 8.2%. That's disappointing, but it's worth keeping in mind that the market-wide selling wouldn't have helped. It's worth noting that the last three months did the real damage, with a 34% decline. So it seems like some holders have been dumping the stock of late - and that's not bullish. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Watts International Maritime Engineering (at least 1 which is potentially serious) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK exchanges.
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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. Thank you for reading.