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Every investor on earth makes bad calls sometimes. But really big losses can really drag down an overall portfolio. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF), who have seen the share price tank a massive 94% 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 90% lower in that time. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 50% in the last three months.
We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Dean Foods saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into Dean Foods's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Dean Foods's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Dean Foods had a tough year, with a total loss of 90%, against a market gain of about 7.0%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 41% over the last half decade. 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. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: Dean Foods may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.