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The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. That downside risk was realized by James River Group Holdings, Ltd. (NASDAQ:JRVR) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 45%. That's well below the market return of 3.7%. Notably, shareholders had a tough run over the longer term, too, with a drop of 33% in the last three years.
After losing 5.3% this past week, it's worth investigating the company's fundamentals to see what we can infer from past performance.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
James River Group Holdings fell to a loss making position during the year. While this may prove temporary, we'd consider it a negative, so it doesn't surprise us that the stock price is down. However, there may be an opportunity for investors if the company can recover.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
A Different Perspective
James River Group Holdings shareholders are down 43% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 3.7%. 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 5% 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. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with James River Group Holdings .
Of course James River Group Holdings 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.
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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.