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Quad/Graphics (NYSE:QUAD) shareholders have endured a 66% loss from investing in the stock five years ago

Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. For example the Quad/Graphics, Inc. (NYSE:QUAD) share price dropped 71% over five years. That's an unpleasant experience for long term holders.

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.

View our latest analysis for Quad/Graphics

Because Quad/Graphics made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.

Over half a decade Quad/Graphics reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 6.5% for each year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. If a business loses money, you want it to grow, so no surprises that the share price has dropped 11% each year in that time. We're generally averse to companies with declining revenues, but we're not alone in that. That is not really what the successful investors we know aim for.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

What About The Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We've already covered Quad/Graphics' share price action, but we should also mention its 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. Dividends have been really beneficial for Quad/Graphics shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 66%, over the last 5 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Quad/Graphics has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 34% in the last twelve months. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 11% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Quad/Graphics better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Quad/Graphics , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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 American 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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