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The past five years for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX:T82U) investors has not been profitable

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But every investor is virtually certain to have both over-performing and under-performing stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX:T82U) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 37% over a half decade.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

Check out our latest analysis for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust

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).

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Looking back five years, both Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 1.6% per year. Readers should note that the share price has fallen faster than the EPS, at a rate of 9% per year, over the period. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

This free interactive report on Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust the TSR over the last 5 years was -17%, 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 the broader market lost about 1.9% in the twelve months, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust shareholders did even worse, losing 12% (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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 3% over the last half decade. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 5 warning signs for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (of which 2 are a bit concerning!) you should know about.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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