Contango Oil & Gas Company (NYSEMKT:MCF) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 19% in the last month. But that doesn’t change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. Like a ship taking on water, the share price has sunk 92% in that time. So we don’t gain too much confidence from the recent recovery. The important question is if the business itself justifies a higher share price in the long term.
We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don’t have to lose the lesson.
Contango Oil & Gas wasn’t profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we’ll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. That’s because it’s hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
In the last five years Contango Oil & Gas saw its revenue shrink by 27% per year. That’s definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. So it’s not that strange that the share price dropped 40% per year in that period. This kind of price performance makes us very wary, especially when combined with falling revenue. Of course, the poor performance could mean the market has been too severe selling down. That can happen.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Contango Oil & Gas’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Contango Oil & Gas shareholders are down 51% for the year. Unfortunately, that’s worse than the broader market decline of 3.5%. 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 40% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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 4 warning signs for Contango Oil & Gas (of which 2 are a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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