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Investors in Rockhopper Exploration (LON:RKH) have unfortunately lost 75% over the last three years

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As an investor, mistakes are inevitable. But really bad investments should be rare. So consider, for a moment, the misfortune of Rockhopper Exploration plc (LON:RKH) investors who have held the stock for three years as it declined a whopping 75%. That would certainly shake our confidence in the decision to own the stock. Unfortunately the share price momentum is still quite negative, with prices down 14% in thirty days.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

Check out our latest analysis for Rockhopper Exploration

Because Rockhopper Exploration 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. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.

In the last three years Rockhopper Exploration saw its revenue shrink by 21% per year. That means its revenue trend is very weak compared to other loss making companies. And as you might expect the share price has been weak too, dropping at a rate of 20% per year. Never forget that loss making companies with falling revenue can and do cause losses for everyday investors. There is a good reason that investors often describe buying a sharply falling stock price as 'trying to catch a falling knife'. Think about it.

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

You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Rockhopper Exploration shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 43% over the last year. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 11% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. 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 4 warning signs with Rockhopper Exploration , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

But note: Rockhopper Exploration may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.

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.

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

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