If You Had Bought Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) Stock Three Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 89% Loss, Today

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As an investor, mistakes are inevitable. But really big losses can really drag down an overall portfolio. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF), who have seen the share price tank a massive 89% over a three year period. That’d be enough to cause even the strongest minds some disquiet. And the ride hasn’t got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 79% lower in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 60% in the last 90 days.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It’s a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it’s worth keeping in mind there’s more to life than money, anyway.

View our latest analysis for Dean Foods

Dean Foods isn’t currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. 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.

Over the last three years, Dean Foods’s revenue dropped 0.7% per year. That is not a good result. Having said that the 53% annualized share price decline highlights the risk of investing in unprofitable companies. This business clearly needs to grow revenues if it is to perform as investors hope. There’s no more than a snowball’s chance in hell that share price will head back to its old highs, in the short term.

The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).

NYSE:DF Income Statement, April 29th 2019
NYSE:DF Income Statement, April 29th 2019

You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

A Different Perspective

Dean Foods shareholders are down 79% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 11%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 34% 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. Importantly, we haven’t analysed Dean Foods’s dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you’re thinking of buying.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.