The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For instance the Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:JCS) share price is 114% higher than it was three years ago. That sort of return is as solid as granite. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 58% gain in the last three months.
Because Communications Systems 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. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
In the last 3 years Communications Systems saw its revenue shrink by 27% per year. So the share price gain of 29% per year is quite surprising. It's a good reminder that expectations about the future, not the past history, always impact share prices.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Take a more thorough look at Communications Systems' financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Communications Systems' total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Communications Systems' TSR of 130% for the 3 years exceeded its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
Communications Systems provided a TSR of 18% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 4% per year over five year. It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. 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 Communications Systems is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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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