James Fisher and Sons (LON:FSJ) shareholders have endured a 88% loss from investing in the stock three years ago

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As every investor would know, not every swing hits the sweet spot. But really bad investments should be rare. So spare a thought for the long term shareholders of James Fisher and Sons plc (LON:FSJ); the share price is down a whopping 88% in the last three years. That would be a disturbing experience. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 71% in a year. Furthermore, it’s down 31% in about a quarter. That’s not much fun for holders. While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn’t as important as health and happiness.

It’s worthwhile assessing if the company’s economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let’s do just that.

View our latest analysis for James Fisher and Sons

Because James Fisher and Sons 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. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.

Over the last three years, James Fisher and Sons’ revenue dropped 6.8% per year. That is not a good result. The share price fall of 23% (per year, over three years) is a stern reminder that money-losing companies are expected to grow revenue. We’re generally averse to companies with declining revenues, but we’re not alone in that. There’s no more than a snowball’s chance in hell that share price will head back to its old highs, in the short term.

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

earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for James Fisher and Sons in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 3.1% in the twelve months, James Fisher and Sons shareholders did even worse, losing 71%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there’s a good opportunity. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 13% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Even so, be aware that James Fisher and Sons is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about…

James Fisher and Sons 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 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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