Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But along the way some stocks are going to perform badly. For example, after five long years the NOW Inc. (NYSE:DNOW) share price is a whole 64% lower. That's an unpleasant experience for long term holders. We also note that the stock has performed poorly over the last year, with the share price down 36%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 25% in the last three months.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
NOW 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. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
Arguably, the revenue drop of 7.4% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can't grow in the long term. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
NOW is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think NOW will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 6.6% in the last year, NOW shareholders lost 36%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 19% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how NOW scores on these 3 valuation metrics.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.