Long term investing works well, but it doesn't always work for each individual stock. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held TravelCenters of America Inc. (NASDAQ:TA) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 75% in that time. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 35% in the last year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 21% 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 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.
In the last half decade TravelCenters of America saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. At present it's hard to make valid comparisons between EPS and the share price. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 0.8% in the last year, TravelCenters of America shareholders lost 35%. 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 24% over the last half decade. 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. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
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 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. Thank you for reading.