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If you love investing in stocks you're bound to buy some losers. Long term Austral Gold Limited (ASX:AGD) shareholders know that all too well, since the share price is down considerably over three years. So they might be feeling emotional about the 62% share price collapse, in that time. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 33% in a year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 22% in the last three months.
Because Austral Gold is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
Over three years, Austral Gold grew revenue at 31% per year. That is faster than most pre-profit companies. The share price has moved in quite the opposite direction, down 28% over that time, a bad result. This could mean hype has come out of the stock because the losses are concerning investors. When we see revenue growth, paired with a falling share price, we can't help wonder if there is an opportunity for those who are willing to dig deeper.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
Investors should note that there's a difference between Austral Gold's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. 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. We note that Austral Gold's TSR, at -60% is higher than its share price return of -62%. When you consider it hasn't been paying a dividend, this data suggests shareholders have benefitted from a spin-off, or had the opportunity to acquire attractively priced shares in a discounted capital raising.
A Different Perspective
Austral Gold shareholders are down 33% for the year, but the market itself is up 12%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8.7% over the last half decade. 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
Austral Gold 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 AU exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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. Thank you for reading.