In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term NSL Ltd (SGX:N02) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 54% over a half decade. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 34% in the last year. Unhappily, the share price slid 1.5% in the last week.
Because NSL made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
In the last five years NSL saw its revenue shrink by 5.3% per year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. With neither profit nor revenue growth, the loss of 9% per year doesn't really surprise us. The chance of imminent investor enthusiasm for this stock seems slimmer than Louise Brooks. Not that many investors like to invest in companies that are losing money and not growing revenue.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
If you are thinking of buying or selling NSL stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of NSL, it has a TSR of -36% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 16% in the twelve months, NSL shareholders did even worse, losing 30% (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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 6% 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand NSL better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - NSL has 2 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think you should know about.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SG 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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