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Easy Come, Easy Go: How Abraxas Petroleum (NASDAQ:AXAS) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 76% Of Their Cash Evaporate

Simply Wall St

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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. For example, we sympathize with anyone who was caught holding Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (NASDAQ:AXAS) during the five years that saw its share price drop a whopping 76%. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 52% in the last year. And the share price decline continued over the last week, dropping some 9.2%.

See our latest analysis for Abraxas Petroleum

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 five years of share price growth, Abraxas Petroleum moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 4.2% 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 graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.

NasdaqCM:AXAS Income Statement, May 5th 2019

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. You can see what analysts are predicting for Abraxas Petroleum in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 10% in the last year, Abraxas Petroleum shareholders lost 52%. 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 25% per year over five years. 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. 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.

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.