While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CCO) share price has gained 19% in the last three months. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 84% lower after that period. So we don't gain too much confidence from the recent recovery. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.
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.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
Over half a decade Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 1.8% for each year. That's not what investors generally want to see. The share price fall of 13% (per year, over five years) is a stern reminder that money-losing companies are expected to grow revenue. It takes a certain kind of mental fortitude (or recklessness) to buy shares in a company that loses money and doesn't grow revenue. That is not really what the successful investors we know aim for.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings' share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings' TSR of was a loss of 70% for the 5 years. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 24% in the last year, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings shareholders lost 53%. 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 11% 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings you should be aware of.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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. 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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