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Did Changing Sentiment Drive Potbelly's (NASDAQ:PBPB) Share Price Down A Worrying 68%?

Simply Wall St

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This week we saw the Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ:PBPB) share price climb by 10%. But don't envy holders -- looking back over 5 years the returns have been really bad. In that time the share price has delivered a rude shock to holders, who find themselves down 68% after a long stretch. So is the recent increase sufficient to restore confidence in the stock? Not yet. We'd err towards caution given the long term under-performance.

Check out our latest analysis for Potbelly

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

We know that Potbelly has been profitable in the past. On the other hand, it reported a trailing twelve months loss, suggesting it isn't reliably profitable. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 6.9% a year in the five year period. A more detailed examination of the revenue and earnings may or may not explain why the share price languishes; there could be an opportunity.

The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).

NasdaqGS:PBPB Income Statement, June 19th 2019

If you are thinking of buying or selling Potbelly stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

Potbelly shareholders are down 62% for the year, but the market itself is up 4.6%. 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 20% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. If you would like to research Potbelly in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.