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Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But no-one is immune from buying too high. Zooming in on an example, the Sculptor Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:SCU) share price dropped 65% in the last half decade. That is extremely sub-optimal, to say the least. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 64% in the last year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 34% in the last three months. However, one could argue that the price has been influenced by the general market, which is down 15% in the same timeframe.
With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Sculptor Capital Management moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The most recent dividend was actually lower than it was in the past, so that may have sent the share price lower.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Sculptor Capital Management has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? This free interactive report on Sculptor Capital Management's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Sculptor Capital Management, it has a TSR of -53% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Sculptor Capital Management shareholders are down 63% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 17%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 9% 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 4 warning signs we've spotted with Sculptor Capital Management .
We will like Sculptor Capital Management better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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.