When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. Long term Rent-A-Center, Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 112% in five years. It’s also up 14% in about a month. We note that Rent-A-Center reported its financial results recently; luckily, you can catch up on the latest revenue and profit numbers in our company report.
The past week has proven to be lucrative for Rent-A-Center investors, so let’s see if fundamentals drove the company’s five-year performance.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it’s a weighing machine. 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 the five years of share price growth, Rent-A-Center moved from a loss to profitability. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it’s worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Rent-A-Center share price is up 14% in the last three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 31% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 5% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Rent-A-Center’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Rent-A-Center the TSR over the last 5 years was 135%, 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
We regret to report that Rent-A-Center shareholders are down 54% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 10%. Having said that, it’s inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 19% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. Even so, be aware that Rent-A-Center is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about…
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.
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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.