The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. So we wouldn't blame long term CECO Environmental Corp. (NASDAQ:CECE) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 50% over a half decade. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 24% in the last 90 days.
CECO Environmental isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
Over five years, CECO Environmental grew its revenue at 3.7% per year. That's far from impressive given all the money it is losing. Given the weak growth, the share price fall of 13% isn't particularly surprising. The key question is whether the company can make it to profitability, and beyond, without trouble. It could be worth putting it on your watchlist and revisiting when it makes its maiden profit.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for CECO Environmental in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between CECO Environmental's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that CECO Environmental's TSR, which was a 45% drop over the last 5 years, was not as bad as the share price return.
A Different Perspective
Investors in CECO Environmental had a tough year, with a total loss of 5.5%, against a market gain of about 14%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 11% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of CECO Environmental by clicking this link.
CECO Environmental is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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