It's easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Elanco Animal Health Incorporated (NYSE:ELAN) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 35%. That falls noticeably short of the market decline of around 8.9%. To make matters worse, the returns over three years have also been really disappointing (the share price is 32% lower than three years ago).
While the last year has been tough for Elanco Animal Health shareholders, this past week has shown signs of promise. So let's look at the longer term fundamentals and see if they've been the driver of the negative returns.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the unfortunate twelve months during which the Elanco Animal Health share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 76%. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth. In fact, we can see extraordinary items impacting earnings in the last twelve months.
It's fair to say that the share price does not seem to be reflecting the EPS growth. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.
Revenue was pretty flat on last year, which isn't too bad. However, it is certainly possible the market was expecting an uptick in revenue, and that the share price fall reflects that disappointment.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for Elanco Animal Health in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
The last twelve months weren't great for Elanco Animal Health shares, which performed worse than the market, costing holders 35%. Meanwhile, the broader market slid about 8.9%, likely weighing on the stock. The three-year loss of 10% per year isn't as bad as the last twelve months, suggesting that the company has not been able to convince the market it has solved its problems. We would be wary of buying into a company with unsolved problems, although some investors will buy into struggling stocks if they believe the price is sufficiently attractive. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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 US 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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