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Cryosite Limited (ASX:CTE) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 60% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 80% lower after that period. It's true that the recent bounce could signal the company is turning over a new leaf, but we are not so sure. The important question is if the business itself justifies a higher share price in the long term.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
During five years of share price growth, Cryosite 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.
Arguably, the revenue drop of 7.9% 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 how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
This free interactive report on Cryosite's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Cryosite'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. Cryosite's TSR of was a loss of 78% for the 5 years. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Cryosite shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 78% over one year. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 26% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Cryosite (at least 3 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.