It's nice to see the Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE:AHT) share price up 20% in a week. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been disappointing. In that time the share price has delivered a rude shock to holders, who find themselves down 76% after a long stretch. So is the recent increase sufficient to restore confidence in the stock? Not yet. But it could be that the fall was overdone.
Because Ashford Hospitality Trust is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
Over five years, Ashford Hospitality Trust grew its revenue at 10% per year. That's a pretty good rate for a long time period. So the stock price fall of 25% per year seems pretty steep. The truth is that the growth might be below expectations, and investors are probably worried about the continual losses.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Ashford Hospitality Trust stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Ashford Hospitality Trust, it has a TSR of -60% 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
Ashford Hospitality Trust shareholders are down 52% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 1.1%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 17% over the last half decade. 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.
Ashford Hospitality Trust 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.
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