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China Online Education Group (NYSE:COE) shareholders have endured a 87% loss from investing in the stock five years ago

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Long term investing is the way to go, but that doesn't mean you should hold every stock forever. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held China Online Education Group (NYSE:COE) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 87% in that time. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 87% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 66% in the last 90 days. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report. While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

View our latest analysis for China Online Education Group

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

China Online Education Group became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 33% a year in the five year period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It is of course excellent to see how China Online Education Group has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling China Online Education Group stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

China Online Education Group shareholders are down 87% for the year, but the market itself is up 29%. 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 13% 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. For example, we've discovered 4 warning signs for China Online Education Group (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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 editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.