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Introducing Encana (TSE:ECA), The Stock That Tanked 74%

Simply Wall St

Long term investing works well, but it doesn't always work for each individual stock. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Spare a thought for those who held Encana Corporation (TSE:ECA) for five whole years - as the share price tanked 74%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 62% over the last twelve months. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 18% in a month.

See our latest analysis for Encana

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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 five years of share price growth, Encana moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.

We don't think that the 1.8% is big factor in the share price, since it's quite small, as dividends go. Arguably, the revenue drop of 6.4% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can't grow in the long term. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

TSX:ECA Income Statement, October 23rd 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's 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 Encana stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 7.3% in the last year, Encana shareholders lost 61% (even including dividends) . 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 23% per year over five years. 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.