Long term investing is the way to go, but that doesn't mean you should hold every stock forever. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held Document Security Systems, Inc. (NYSEMKT:DSS) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 85% in that time. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 67% in the last year. Furthermore, it's down 21% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
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.
Because Document Security Systems is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. 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 five years, Document Security Systems grew its revenue at 1.1% per year. That's far from impressive given all the money it is losing. Nonetheless, it's fair to say the rapidly declining share price (down 32%, compound, over five years) suggests the market is very disappointed with this level of growth. While we're definitely wary of the stock, after that kind of performance, it could be an over-reaction. A company like this generally needs to produce profits before it can find favour with new investors.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. If you are thinking of buying or selling Document Security Systems stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
A Different Perspective
Document Security Systems shareholders are down 67% for the year, but the market itself is up 15%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 32% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Document Security Systems is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider 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 email@example.com. 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.