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Some stocks are best avoided. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Imagine if you held ARC Resources Ltd. (TSE:ARX) for half a decade as the share price tanked 79%. We also note that the stock has performed poorly over the last year, with the share price down 48%. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 31% in the last 90 days.
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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During five years of share price growth, ARC Resources moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it’s counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline. On top of that, revenue has declined by 6.1% per year over the half decade; that could be a red flag for some investors.
You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).
It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, ARC Resources’s TSR for the last 5 years was -74%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
ARC Resources shareholders are down 45% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 0.3%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 23% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of ARC Resources by clicking this link.
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 CA exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.