U.S. markets closed

Some Methanex (TSE:MX) Shareholders Are Down 42%

Simply Wall St

Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. Investors in Methanex Corporation (TSE:MX) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 42%. That's well bellow the market return of 5.7%. Even if you look out three years, the returns are still disappointing, with the share price down36% in that time. Furthermore, it's down 13% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

See our latest analysis for Methanex

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

Unhappily, Methanex had to report a 84% decline in EPS over the last year. This fall in the EPS is significantly worse than the 42% the share price fall. So the market may not be too worried about the EPS figure, at the moment -- or it may have expected earnings to drop faster.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

TSX:MX Past and Future Earnings, February 25th 2020

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free interactive report on Methanex's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Methanex's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Methanex's TSR of was a loss of 40% for the year. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.

A Different Perspective

Methanex shareholders are down 40% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 5.7%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 5.9% 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. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 5 warning signs with Methanex (at least 2 which don't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Methanex 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 CA 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.

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. Thank you for reading.