Why the Computershare Limited share price is falling

Credit: Mark Moz

The share price of Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) came under selling pressure on Thursday after the group held an Investor and Analyst Briefing, a copy of which was released to the ASX.

Given the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) enjoyed solid gains of 0.7% yesterday, Computershare investors will not be happy with its returns.

The key driver of the selling was no doubt the update on full year guidance which was provided by management. Here’s what was said:

“In February 2016 we said that we expected the Group’s Management EPS would be around 7.5% lower than FY15 and that we were seeing some softening in the operation environment. We now have greater clarity on FY16 and reiterate our guidance that Management EPS is expected to be around 7.5% lower than FY15. Our guidance assumes no material change to current market conditions for the balance of the fiscal year and that any contributions from the Capital Markets Cooperative LLC acquisition and the potential UKAR appointment will be immaterial in FY16.”

Given the market is obsessed with near term earnings momentum it’s not surprising that the share price responded in the way that it did.

It’s this focus by the market on the near term however which can (sometimes) create opportunities for those with a longer-term investment horizon.

Could now be one of those times?

Computershare is a $5.4 billion global market leader in the provision of a range of services.

Domestically the group is best known for its investor services, however, it is also an established operator in the provisions of transfer agency, employee equity plan administration, proxy solicitation and stakeholder communications services.

Computershare also specialises in mortgage servicing, corporate trust, bankruptcy and class action administration services.

Based on guidance, investors can expect Computershare to report FY 2016 management earnings per share (EPS) of 55.3 cents. This will mark the second year in a row that EPS has declined which obviously (and reasonably) has some questioning whether this is the beginning of a trend.

Franking was 25% in FY 2015 which needs to be taken into account when valuing Computershare. Based on guidance, the stock is trading on a forecast price-to-earnings multiple of 17.9 times which may not yet be a level attractive enough to entice bargain hunters to the stock.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Computershare. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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