It's not possible to invest over long periods without making some bad investments. But you want to avoid the really big losses like the plague. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of XLMedia PLC (LON:XLM), who have seen the share price tank a massive 85% over a three year period. That'd be enough to cause even the strongest minds some disquiet. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 62% in a year. The good news is that the stock is up 3.5% in the last week.
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.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Over the three years that the share price declined, XLMedia's earnings per share (EPS) dropped significantly, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Due to the loss, it's not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. But it's safe to say we'd generally expect the share price to be lower as a result!
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on XLMedia's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, XLMedia's TSR for the last 3 years was -83%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 9.8% in the twelve months, XLMedia shareholders did even worse, losing 60% (even including dividends). 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 10% per year over five years. 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. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with XLMedia (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 GB exchanges.
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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. 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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