Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!
Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. For example the Salem Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SALM) share price dropped 76% over five years. That is extremely sub-optimal, to say the least. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 53% in the last year. On top of that, the share price has dropped a further 9.6% in a month.
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.
In the last half decade Salem Media Group saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. But we would generally expect a lower price, given the situation.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Salem Media Group's TSR for the last 5 years was -68%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 6.2% in the last year, Salem Media Group shareholders lost 49% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 21% 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. Before spending more time on Salem Media Group it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
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 US exchanges.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.