Apache Corporation (NASDAQ:APA) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 29% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been disappointing. The share price has failed to impress anyone , down a sizable 67% during that time. So is the recent increase sufficient to restore confidence in the stock? Not yet. However, in the best case scenario (far from fait accompli), this improved performance might be sustained.
Because Apache 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. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
Over half a decade Apache reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 1.7% for each year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. The share price decline of 11% compound, over five years, is understandable given the company is losing money, and revenue is moving in the wrong direction. The chance of imminent investor enthusiasm for this stock seems slimmer than Louise Brooks. Ultimately, it may be worth watching - should revenue pick up, the share price might follow.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Apache will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Apache's TSR for the last 5 years was -63%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Apache shareholders are down 28% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 19%. 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 10% per year over five years. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Apache .
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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.
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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