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Earnings growth of 18% over 3 years hasn't been enough to translate into positive returns for Madison Square Garden Sports (NYSE:MSGS) shareholders

·3 min read

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. We regret to report that long term Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (NYSE:MSGS) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 48% in three years, versus a market return of about 49%. More recently, the share price has dropped a further 10% in a month. But this could be related to poor market conditions -- stocks are down 9.1% in the same time.

Since Madison Square Garden Sports has shed US$125m from its value in the past 7 days, let's see if the longer term decline has been driven by the business' economics.

Check out our latest analysis for Madison Square Garden Sports

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

Madison Square Garden Sports became profitable within the last five years. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.

We think that the revenue decline over three years, at a rate of 48% per year, probably had some shareholders looking to sell. And that's not surprising, since it seems unlikely that EPS growth can continue for long in the absence of revenue growth.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Madison Square Garden Sports

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there's a difference between Madison Square Garden Sports' total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we've covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. We note that Madison Square Garden Sports' TSR, at -26% is higher than its share price return of -48%. 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

We regret to report that Madison Square Garden Sports shareholders are down 12% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 5.6%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 2% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Madison Square Garden Sports better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Madison Square Garden Sports that you should be aware of.

Madison Square Garden Sports is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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.

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.