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Metals X (ASX:MLX) shareholders have endured a 71% loss from investing in the stock five years ago

We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Spare a thought for those who held Metals X Limited (ASX:MLX) for five whole years - as the share price tanked 72%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 28% over the last twelve months. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 11% in the last 90 days. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

View our latest analysis for Metals X

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Metals X became profitable within the last five years. 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.

Arguably, the revenue drop of 13% a year for half a decade suggests that the company can't grow in the long term. That could explain the weak share price.

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

We know that Metals X has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? Take a more thorough look at Metals X's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 4.6% in the twelve months, Metals X shareholders did even worse, losing 28%. 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 11% 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Metals X you should be aware of.

We will like Metals X 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 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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