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Investors Who Bought Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Down 93%

Simply Wall St

We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Spare a thought for those who held Whiting Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:WLL) for five whole years - as the share price tanked 93%. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 59% in the last year. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 29% in a month. Importantly, this could be a market reaction to the recently released financial results. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

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View our latest analysis for Whiting Petroleum

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...' One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During five years of share price growth, Whiting Petroleum 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.

It could be that the revenue decline of 11% per year is viewed as evidence that Whiting Petroleum is shrinking. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.

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.

NYSE:WLL Income Statement, May 23rd 2019

Whiting Petroleum is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. If you are thinking of buying or selling Whiting Petroleum stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst consensus estimates for future profits.

A Different Perspective

Whiting Petroleum shareholders are down 59% for the year, but the market itself is up 5.1%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 41% per year over five years. 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. Before spending more time on Whiting Petroleum it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

If you are like me, then you will 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.