The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term NSL Ltd (SGX:N02) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 41% over a half decade. There was little comfort for shareholders in the last week as the price declined a further 3.6%.
Because NSL is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
Over half a decade NSL reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 3.3% for each year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. The stock hasn't done well for shareholders in the last five years, falling 10%, annualized. Unfortunately, though, it makes sense given the lack of either profits or revenue growth. Without profits, its hard to see how shareholders win if the revenue keeps falling.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
If you are thinking of buying or selling NSL stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of NSL, it has a TSR of -19% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
NSL shareholders are down 15% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 6.8%. 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 4.2% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Before forming an opinion on NSL you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SG exchanges.
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.
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