Snap (NYSE:SNAP) shareholders have endured a 77% loss from investing in the stock three years ago
Every investor on earth makes bad calls sometimes. But really bad investments should be rare. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP), who have seen the share price tank a massive 77% over a three year period. That might cause some serious doubts about the merits of the initial decision to buy the stock, to put it mildly. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 18% in the last 90 days. But this could be related to the weak market, which is down 11% in the same period.
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.
Because Snap made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. 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.
In the last three years, Snap saw its revenue grow by 21% per year, compound. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. So on the face of it we're really surprised to see the share price down 21% a year in the same time period. You'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet, as well as the losses. Ultimately, revenue growth doesn't amount to much if the business can't scale well. If the company is low on cash, it may have to raise capital soon.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. You can see what analysts are predicting for Snap in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
Snap shareholders are down 6.2% for the year, but the market itself is up 6.1%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 6%, each year, over five years. 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 Snap better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Snap is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on American exchanges.
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.