Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But no-one is immune from buying too high. For example, after five long years the Austin Engineering Limited (ASX:ANG) share price is a whole 77% lower. We certainly feel for shareholders who bought near the top. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 34% in the last year. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 17% in thirty days.
Austin Engineering wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
In the last half decade, Austin Engineering saw its revenue increase by 5.6% per year. That's far from impressive given all the money it is losing. Nonetheless, it's fair to say the rapidly declining share price (down 25%, compound, over five years) suggests the market is very disappointed with this level of growth. While we're definitely wary of the stock, after that kind of performance, it could be an over-reaction. A company like this generally needs to produce profits before it can find favour with new investors.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Austin Engineering's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Austin Engineering's TSR, which was a 69% drop over the last 5 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 7.2% in the twelve months, Austin Engineering shareholders did even worse, losing 33%. 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 21% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. 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. Take risks, for example - Austin Engineering has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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 AU exchanges.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.