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Melrose Industries' (LON:MRO) investors will be pleased with their notable 54% return over the last year

The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRO) share price is 53% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market decline of around 1.8% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! However, the stock hasn't done so well in the longer term, with the stock only up 16% in three years.

So let's investigate 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 Melrose Industries

Given that Melrose Industries only made minimal earnings in the last twelve months, we'll focus on revenue to gauge its business development. Generally speaking, we'd consider a stock like this alongside loss-making companies, simply because the quantum of the profit is so low. For shareholders to have confidence a company will grow profits significantly, it must grow revenue.

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Melrose Industries actually shrunk its revenue over the last year, with a reduction of 56%. Despite the lack of revenue growth, the stock has returned a solid 53% the last twelve months. To us that means that there isn't a lot of correlation between the past revenue performance and the share price, but a closer look at analyst forecasts and the bottom line may well explain a lot.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Melrose Industries stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Melrose Industries has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 54% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 10% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 - Melrose Industries has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

Melrose Industries is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 British 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.