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It's nice to see the A.H. Belo Corporation (NYSE:AHC) share price up 12% in a week. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been less than pleasing. In fact, the share price is down 66%, which falls well short of the return you could get by buying an index fund.
A.H. Belo isn't a profitable company, so it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. 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.
In the last five years A.H. Belo saw its revenue shrink by 5.5% per year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. The share price decline of 19% compound, over five years, is understandable given the company is losing money, and revenue is moving in the wrong direction. The chance of imminent investor enthusiasm for this stock seems slimmer than Louise Brooks. Ultimately, it may be worth watching - should revenue pick up, the share price might follow.
Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, A.H. Belo's TSR for the last 5 years was -37%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in A.H. Belo had a tough year, with a total loss of 15% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 8.1%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8.8% 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. 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 A.H. Belo by clicking this link.
A.H. Belo 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.