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Easy Come, Easy Go: How EQT (NYSE:EQT) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 87% Of Their Cash Evaporate

Simply Wall St

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Some stocks are best avoided. We don't wish catastrophic capital loss on anyone. Anyone who held EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 87% in that time. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 74% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 30% in the last 90 days.

While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

View our latest analysis for EQT

Given that EQT didn't make a profit in the last twelve months, we'll focus on revenue growth to form a quick view of its business development. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.

In the last half decade, EQT saw its revenue increase by 17% per year. That's better than most loss-making companies. So it's not at all clear to us why the share price sunk 33% throughout that time. You'd have to assume the market is worried that profits won't come soon enough. While there might be an opportunity here, you'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet strength.

You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).

NYSE:EQT Income Statement, June 26th 2019

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling EQT stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of EQT, it has a TSR of -75% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 6.6% in the last year, EQT shareholders lost 52% (even including dividends). 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 24% 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.

EQT 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 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.