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Investors in Webjet (ASX:WEB) from three years ago are still down 43%, even after 9.7% gain this past week

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For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 60% in three years, versus a market return of about 27%. But it's up 9.7% in the last week. Less than a week ago Webjet announced its financial results; you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

While the last three years has been tough for Webjet 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.

See our latest analysis for Webjet

Webjet isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.

In the last three years Webjet saw its revenue shrink by 53% per year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. Arguably, the market has responded appropriately to this business performance by sending the share price down 17% (annualized) in the same time period. Bagholders or 'baggies' are people who buy more of a stock as the price collapses. They are then left 'holding the bag' if the shares turn out to be worthless. It could be a while before the company repays long suffering shareholders with share price gains.

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

Webjet 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 Webjet will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between Webjet's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. 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 Webjet shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 43%, over the last 3 years, isn't as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Webjet shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 22% over one year. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 5% per year over five years. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

But note: Webjet 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 AU 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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