Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But along the way some stocks are going to perform badly. For example, after five long years the Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) share price is a whole 72% lower. That's an unpleasant experience for long term holders. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 27% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 23% in the last 90 days. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.
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Because Mattel is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. 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.
In the last five years Mattel saw its revenue shrink by 7.0% per year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. The share price fall of 22% (per year, over five years) is a stern reminder that money-losing companies are expected to grow revenue. We're generally averse to companies with declining revenues, but we're not alone in that. That is not really what the successful investors we know aim for.
The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
A Dividend Lost
The share price return figures discussed above don't include the value of dividends paid previously, but the total shareholder return (TSR) does. In some ways, TSR is a better measure of how well an investment has performed. Over the last 5 years, Mattel generated a TSR of -67%, which is, of course, better than the share price return. Even though the company isn't paying dividends at the moment, it has done in the past.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Mattel had a tough year, with a total loss of 27%, against a market gain of about 4.8%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 20% 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. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Mattel by clicking this link.
Mattel is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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.