China U-Ton Holdings Limited (HKG:6168) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 173% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. Like a ship taking on water, the share price has sunk 72% in that time. The recent bounce might mean the long decline is over, but we are not confident. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.
China U-Ton Holdings 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. 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 five years China U-Ton Holdings saw its revenue shrink by 27% per year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. So it's not that strange that the share price dropped 22% per year in that period. We don't think this is a particularly promising picture. Ironically, that behavior could create an opportunity for the contrarian investor - but only if there are good reasons to predict a brighter future.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil 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. This free interactive report on China U-Ton Holdings's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
Investors in China U-Ton Holdings had a tough year, with a total loss of 59%, against a market gain of about 4.7%. 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 22% 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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for China U-Ton Holdings you should be aware of, and 1 of them can't be ignored.
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 HK exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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