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Such Is Life: How ADTRAN (NASDAQ:ADTN) Shareholders Saw Their Shares Drop 54%

Simply Wall St

This month, we saw the ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) up an impressive 40%. But that is small recompense for the exasperating returns over three years. Indeed, the share price is down a tragic 54% in the last three years. Some might say the recent bounce is to be expected after such a bad drop. After all, could be that the fall was overdone.

See our latest analysis for ADTRAN

ADTRAN wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, 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. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. 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 three years ADTRAN saw its revenue shrink by 9.0% per year. That's not what investors generally want to see. With revenue in decline, and profit but a dream, we can understand why the share price has been declining at 23% per year. Having said that, if growth is coming in the future, now may be the low ebb for the company. We don't generally like to own companies that lose money and can't grow revenues. But any company is worth looking at when it makes a maiden profit.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NasdaqGS:ADTN Income Statement April 14th 2020

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think ADTRAN will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

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. In the case of ADTRAN, it has a TSR of -51% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 4.0% in the twelve months, ADTRAN shareholders did even worse, losing 37% (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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 11% 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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for ADTRAN you should be aware of, and 1 of them shouldn't be ignored.

ADTRAN is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.

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