In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Materialise NV (NASDAQ:MTLS) shareholders, since the share price is down 31% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 34%. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 30% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 21% in the last 90 days.
It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Materialise moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So it's worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.
With revenue flat over three years, it seems unlikely that the share price is reflecting the top line. We're not entirely sure why the share price is dropped, but it does seem likely investors have become less optimistic about the business.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It is of course excellent to see how Materialise has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on Materialise's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Materialise shareholders are down 30% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 15%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 1.4% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild has said investors should "buy when there is blood on the streets", but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality business. Is Materialise cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Of course Materialise may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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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