We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We don't wish catastrophic capital loss on anyone. Anyone who held OVS S.p.A. (BIT:OVS) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 74% in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 27% in the last 90 days. But this could be related to the weak market, which is down 12% in the same period.
After losing 9.1% this past week, it's worth investigating the company's fundamentals to see what we can infer from past performance.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
During the five years over which the share price declined, OVS' earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 13% each year. Readers should note that the share price has fallen faster than the EPS, at a rate of 23% per year, over the period. This implies that the market was previously too optimistic about the stock. The low P/E ratio of 9.78 further reflects this reticence.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between OVS' total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. 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. Dividends have been really beneficial for OVS shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 72%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While it's certainly disappointing to see that OVS shares lost 0.9% throughout the year, that wasn't as bad as the market loss of 5.1%. Of far more concern is the 11% p.a. loss served to shareholders over the last five years. While the losses are slowing we doubt many shareholders are happy with the stock. 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. Even so, be aware that OVS is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
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Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on IT exchanges.
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.