In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But its virtually certain that sometimes you will buy stocks that fall short of the market average returns. We regret to report that long term Glencore plc (LON:GLEN) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 54% in three years, versus a market decline of about 7.5%. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 27% lower in that time. But it's up 6.9% in the last week.
Given that Glencore 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. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. 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 three years, Glencore saw its revenue grow by 0.6% per year, compound. That's not a very high growth rate considering it doesn't make profits. It's likely this weak growth has contributed to an annualised return of 15% for the last three years. It can be well worth keeping an eye on growth stocks that disappoint the market, because sometimes they re-accelerate. After all, growing a business isn't easy, and the process will not always be smooth.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. 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
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Glencore's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Glencore's TSR, which was a 49% drop over the last 3 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 9.7% in the twelve months, Glencore shareholders did even worse, losing 27%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 11% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that Glencore is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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