U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 21 mins

The Core Laboratories (NYSE:CLB) Share Price Is Down 64% So Some Shareholders Are Wishing They Sold

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Generally speaking long term investing is the way to go. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. To wit, the Core Laboratories N.V. (NYSE:CLB) share price managed to fall 64% over five long years. That's not a lot of fun for true believers. We also note that the stock has performed poorly over the last year, with the share price down 52%. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 16% in thirty days. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

Check out our latest analysis for Core Laboratories

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

During the five years over which the share price declined, Core Laboratories's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 17% each year. Notably, the share price has fallen at 18% per year, fairly close to the change in the EPS. This implies that the market has had a fairly steady view of the stock. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:CLB Past and Future Earnings, May 10th 2019

We know that Core Laboratories has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Core Laboratories will grow revenue in the future.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Core Laboratories, it has a TSR of -60% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Core Laboratories shareholders are down 51% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 6.3%. 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 17% over the last half decade. 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. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

We will like Core Laboratories better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.