Some stocks are best avoided. We don't wish catastrophic capital loss on anyone. For example, we sympathize with anyone who was caught holding Hammerson plc (LON:HMSO) during the five years that saw its share price drop a whopping 99%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 24% over the last twelve months. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 27% in the last 90 days. We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don't have to lose the lesson.
It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.
Hammerson wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
Over half a decade Hammerson reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 14% for each year. That puts it in an unattractive cohort, to put it mildly. So it's not altogether surprising to see the share price down 15% per year in the same time period. This kind of price performance makes us very wary, especially when combined with falling revenue. Ironically, that behavior could create an opportunity for the contrarian investor - but only if there are good reasons to predict a brighter future.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
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. We note that for Hammerson the TSR over the last 5 years was -87%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Hammerson shareholders are down 23% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 0.09%. 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. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 13% doled out over the last five years. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Hammerson better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Hammerson .
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.