As an investor, mistakes are inevitable. But really big losses can really drag down an overall portfolio. So consider, for a moment, the misfortune of Actual Experience plc (LON:ACT) investors who have held the stock for three years as it declined a whopping 81%. That would be a disturbing experience. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 75% lower in that time. Furthermore, it's down 52% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.
While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
Given that Actual Experience didn't make a profit in the last twelve months, we'll focus on revenue growth to form a quick view of its business development. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
In the last three years, Actual Experience saw its revenue grow by 56% per year, compound. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. So on the face of it we're really surprised to see the share price down 43% a year in the same time period. You'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet, as well as the losses. Sometimes fast revenue growth doesn't lead to profits. Unless the balance sheet is strong, the company might have to raise capital.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 19% in the last year, Actual Experience shareholders lost 75%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 22% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 5 warning signs with Actual Experience (at least 1 which is a bit unpleasant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
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.
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