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Further weakness as Rolls-Royce Holdings (LON:RR.) drops 3.6% this week, taking three-year losses to 74%

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·3-min read
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Every investor on earth makes bad calls sometimes. But really big losses can really drag down an overall portfolio. So spare a thought for the long term shareholders of Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (LON:RR.); the share price is down a whopping 91% in the last three years. That'd be enough to cause even the strongest minds some disquiet. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 25% lower in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 31% in the last 90 days. We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.

Given the past week has been tough on shareholders, let's investigate the fundamentals and see what we can learn.

See our latest analysis for Rolls-Royce Holdings

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

Rolls-Royce Holdings became profitable within the last five years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So it's worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.

We think that the revenue decline over three years, at a rate of 15% per year, probably had some shareholders looking to sell. And that's not surprising, since it seems unlikely that EPS growth can continue for long in the absence of revenue growth.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

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. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Rolls-Royce Holdings will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between Rolls-Royce Holdings' total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Dividends have been really beneficial for Rolls-Royce Holdings shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 74%, over the last 3 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 1.5% in the twelve months, Rolls-Royce Holdings shareholders did even worse, losing 25%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 11% per year over five years. 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. 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. Take risks, for example - Rolls-Royce Holdings has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are potentially serious) we think you should know about.

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 GB exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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