In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Phoenix New Media Limited (NYSE:FENG) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 90% in three years, versus a market return of about 41%. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 75% in a year. Furthermore, it's down 49% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report. We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.
If the past week is anything to go by, investor sentiment for Phoenix New Media isn't positive, so let's see if there's a mismatch between fundamentals and the share price.
Phoenix New Media isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
In the last three years Phoenix New Media saw its revenue shrink by 12% per year. That is not a good result. Having said that the 24% annualized share price decline highlights the risk of investing in unprofitable companies. This business clearly needs to grow revenues if it is to perform as investors hope. There's no more than a snowball's chance in hell that share price will head back to its old highs, in the short term.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Phoenix New Media's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Phoenix New Media's TSR of was a loss of 37% for the 3 years. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Phoenix New Media shareholders are down 75% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 9.4%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Phoenix New Media you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
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.