Some stocks are best avoided. We don't wish catastrophic capital loss on anyone. For example, we sympathize with anyone who was caught holding GTN Limited (ASX:GTN) during the five years that saw its share price drop a whopping 86%. Furthermore, it's down 17% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report. We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don't have to lose the lesson.
Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
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 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.
GTN became profitable within the last five years. 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.
Arguably, the revenue drop of 5.0% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can't grow in the long term. That could explain the weak share price.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that GTN has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on GTN
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of GTN, it has a TSR of -83% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 2.2% in the twelve months, GTN shareholders did even worse, losing 5.2% (even including dividends). However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 13% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for GTN (1 is concerning) that you should be aware of.
But note: GTN may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
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