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PagerDuty (NYSE:PD) investors are sitting on a loss of 46% if they invested three years ago

Many investors define successful investing as beating the market average over the long term. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term PagerDuty, Inc. (NYSE:PD) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 46% in three years, versus a market return of about 17%. And over the last year the share price fell 35%, so we doubt many shareholders are delighted. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 15% in the last three months.

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.

See our latest analysis for PagerDuty

PagerDuty isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally hope to see good revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.

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Over three years, PagerDuty grew revenue at 24% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. The share price drop of 13% per year over three years would be considered disappointing by many, so you might argue the company is getting little credit for its impressive revenue growth. It's possible that the prior share price assumed unrealistically high future growth. Still, with high hopes now tempered, now might prove to be an opportunity to buy.

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

PagerDuty is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.

A Different Perspective

Investors in PagerDuty had a tough year, with a total loss of 35%, against a market gain of about 25%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 8% over the last half decade. 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that PagerDuty is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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 American 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.