We think intelligent long term investing is the way to go. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. For example, after five long years the RPC, Inc. (NYSE:RES) share price is a whole 66% lower. We certainly feel for shareholders who bought near the top. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 40% in the last 90 days.
If the past week is anything to go by, investor sentiment for RPC isn't positive, so let's see if there's a mismatch between fundamentals and the share price.
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.
RPC became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
It could be that the revenue decline of 15% per year is viewed as evidence that RPC is shrinking. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. You can see what analysts are predicting for RPC in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that RPC shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 27% over one year. That certainly beats the loss of about 10% per year over the last half decade. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with RPC , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 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.