The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. Investors in OnTheMarket plc (LON:OTMP) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 15%. That contrasts poorly with the market return of 18%. Because OnTheMarket hasn't been listed for many years, the market is still learning about how the business performs.
Because OnTheMarket made a loss in the last twelve months, 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. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
In the last twelve months, OnTheMarket increased its revenue by 11%. That's not a very high growth rate considering it doesn't make profits. Given this fairly low revenue growth (and lack of profits), it's not particularly surprising to see the stock down 15% in a year. It's important not to lose sight of the fact that profitless companies must grow. But if you buy a loss making company then you could become a loss making investor.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
Given that the market gained 18% in the last year, OnTheMarket shareholders might be miffed that they lost 15%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. The share price decline has continued throughout the most recent three months, down 7.8%, suggesting an absence of enthusiasm from investors. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. 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. Take risks, for example - OnTheMarket has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is concerning) we think you should know about.
Of course OnTheMarket may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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