Did Changing Sentiment Drive Evolving Systems’s Share Price Down A Painful 85%?

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Long term investing works well, but it doesn’t always work for each individual stock. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Imagine if you held Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVOL) for half a decade as the share price tanked 85%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 76% over the last twelve months.

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 Evolving Systems

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the five years over which the share price declined, Evolving Systems’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 32% each year. The impact of extraordinary items helps explain this. In this case, the EPS change is really very close to the share price drop of 31% a year. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time. Rather, the share price change has reflected changes in earnings per share.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NasdaqCM:EVOL Past and Future Earnings, February 21st 2019
NasdaqCM:EVOL Past and Future Earnings, February 21st 2019

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Evolving Systems’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Dividend Lost

The share price return figures discussed previously don’t include the value of dividends paid previously, but the total shareholder return (TSR) does. In some ways, TSR is a better measure of how well an investment has performed. Evolving Systems’s TSR over the last 5 years is -82%; better than its share price return. Although the company had to cut dividends, it has paid cash to shareholders in the past.

A Different Perspective

Evolving Systems shareholders are down 76% for the year, but the market itself is up 4.3%. 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 29% 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. Is Evolving Systems cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

But note: Evolving Systems may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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.