If you love investing in stocks you're bound to buy some losers. But long term Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) shareholders have had a particularly rough ride in the last three year. Regrettably, they have had to cope with a 70% drop in the share price over that period. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 43% in a year.
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. 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.
Alexander & Baldwin became profitable within the last five years. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.
Arguably the revenue decline of 4.2% per year has people thinking Alexander & Baldwin is shrinking. And that's not surprising, since it seems unlikely that EPS growth can continue for long in the absence of revenue growth.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
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. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Alexander & Baldwin
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Alexander & Baldwin's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Alexander & Baldwin's TSR, which was a 52% drop over the last 3 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
Alexander & Baldwin shareholders are down 42% for the year, but the market itself is up 20%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 7% 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. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Alexander & Baldwin (including 1 which is doesn't sit too well with us) .
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 US 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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