As an investor, mistakes are inevitable. But you have a problem if you face massive losses more than once in a while. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Alphageo (India) Limited (NSE:ALPHAGEO), who have seen the share price tank a massive 82% over a three year period. That might cause some serious doubts about the merits of the initial decision to buy the stock, to put it mildly. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 61% lower in that time. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 50% in the last three months.
We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don't have to lose the lesson.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Alphageo (India) actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 22% per year. This is quite a puzzle, and suggests there might be something temporarily buoying the share price. Alternatively, growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.
Given the healthiness of the dividend payments, we doubt that they've concerned the market. We like that Alphageo (India) has actually grown its revenue over the last three years. But it's not clear to us why the share price is down. It might be worth diving deeper into the fundamentals, lest an opportunity goes begging.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
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.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Alphageo (India)'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. Alphageo (India)'s TSR of was a loss of 82% for the 3 years. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 3.0% in the last year, Alphageo (India) shareholders lost 59% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 17% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Importantly, we haven't analysed Alphageo (India)'s dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.
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 IN 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 email@example.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.