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Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. Zooming in on an example, the Strattec Security Corporation (NASDAQ:STRT) share price dropped 63% in the last half decade. That is extremely sub-optimal, to say the least. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 24% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 22% in the last 90 days.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
Over five years Strattec Security's earnings per share dropped significantly, falling to a loss, with the share price also lower. The recent extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
This free interactive report on Strattec Security's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Strattec Security, 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
Investors in Strattec Security had a tough year, with a total loss of 22% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 8.5%. 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 17% 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 Strattec Security in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
Of course Strattec Security may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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 email@example.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.