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Introducing Olympic Steel (NASDAQ:ZEUS), The Stock That Dropped 38% In The Last Five Years

Simply Wall St

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But even the best stock picker will only win with some selections. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS), since the last five years saw the share price fall 38%. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 23% in the last year. And the share price decline continued over the last week, dropping some 7.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Olympic Steel

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, Olympic Steel moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

We don't think that the 0.5% is big factor in the share price, since it's quite small, as dividends go. Revenue is actually up 2.2% over the time period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.

The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.

NasdaqGS:ZEUS Income Statement, April 12th 2019

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 9.9% in the last year, Olympic Steel shareholders lost 23% (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 8.8% 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 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 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.