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Did You Manage To Avoid A.H. Belo's (NYSE:AHC) Painful 68% Share Price Drop?

Simply Wall St

For many, the main point of investing is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in A.H. Belo Corporation (NYSE:AHC), since the last five years saw the share price fall 68%. It's up 1.4% in the last seven days.

See our latest analysis for A.H. Belo

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During five years of share price growth, A.H. Belo moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

The steady dividend doesn't really explain why the share price is down. However, revenue has declined at a compound annual rate of 6.4% per year. With dividends up, but revenue down, some investors might be concluding that the company is no longer growing.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NYSE:AHC Income Statement, October 18th 2019

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on A.H. Belo's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of A.H. Belo, it has a TSR of -47% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

A.H. Belo shareholders are down 18% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 9.7%. 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 12% 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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 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.