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Easy Come, Easy Go: How Safe Bulkers (NYSE:SB) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 86% 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. Anyone who held Safe Bulkers, Inc. (NYSE:SB) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 86% in that time. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 63% in the last year. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 11% in a month. Importantly, this could be a market reaction to the recently released financial results. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

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

See our latest analysis for Safe Bulkers

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, Safe Bulkers 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.

Revenue is actually up 2.0% over the time period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.

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

NYSE:SB Income Statement, June 12th 2019

It is of course excellent to see how Safe Bulkers has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on Safe Bulkers's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 3.1% in the last year, Safe Bulkers shareholders lost 63%. 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 32% 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. Before forming an opinion on Safe Bulkers you might want to consider these 3 valuation metrics.

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.