Investors in Summit Financial Group (NASDAQ:SMMF) have unfortunately lost 7.8% over the last year

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It’s understandable if you feel frustrated when a stock you own sees a lower share price. But sometimes broader market conditions have more of an impact on prices than the actual business performance. The Summit Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMMF) is down 10% over a year, but the total shareholder return is -7.8% once you include the dividend. And that total return actually beats the market decline of 10%. At least the damage isn’t so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 4.1% in that time. The share price has dropped 14% in three 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Summit Financial Group

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 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.

Even though the Summit Financial Group share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. It could be that the share price was previously over-hyped.

The divergence between the EPS and the share price is quite notable, during the year. So it’s well worth checking out some other metrics, too.

Summit Financial Group’s revenue is actually up 11% over the last year. Since we can’t easily explain the share price movement based on these metrics, it might be worth considering how market sentiment has changed towards the stock.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growthearnings-and-revenue-growth

earnings-and-revenue-growth

It’s probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized 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. You can see what analysts are predicting for Summit Financial Group in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Summit Financial Group’s TSR for the last 1 year was -7.8%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. 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, Summit Financial Group shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 7.8% wasn’t as bad as the market loss of around 10%. 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. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. 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. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Summit Financial Group you should be aware of.

Of course Summit Financial Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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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