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 Ascential plc (LON:ASCL) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 45% over a half decade. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 21% in the last year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 12% in the last three months.
Now let’s have a look at the company’s fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
View our latest analysis for Ascential
Because Ascential made a loss in the last twelve months, 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 it’s hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
In the last half decade, Ascential saw its revenue increase by 5.8% per year. That’s not a very high growth rate considering it doesn’t make profits. Given this fairly low revenue growth (and lack of profits), it’s not particularly surprising to see the stock down 8% (annualized) in the same time frame. Investors should consider how bad the losses are, and whether the company can make it to profitability with ease. Shareholders will want the company to approach profitability if it can’t grow revenue any faster.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It’s probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Ascential
A Different Perspective
Ascential shareholders are down 21% for the year, but the market itself is up 2.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 8% 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. Before spending more time on Ascential it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
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 British 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.
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