For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Ryerson Holding Corporation (NYSE:RYI) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 42% in three years, versus a market return of about 37%. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 30% lower in that time. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 31% in the last three months. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Ryerson Holding actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 172% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed. It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.
Revenue is actually up 20% over the three years, so the share price drop doesn't seem to hinge on revenue, either. This analysis is just perfunctory, but it might be worth researching Ryerson Holding more closely, as sometimes stocks fall unfairly. This could present an opportunity.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
A Different Perspective
Ryerson Holding shareholders are down 30% for the year, but the market itself is up 0.5%. 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 7.8% over the last half decade. 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 want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
Ryerson Holding is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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 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.