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Shareholders in Mercury Systems (NASDAQ:MRCY) are in the red if they invested three years ago

The truth is that if you invest for long enough, you're going to end up with some losing stocks. But long term Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY) shareholders have had a particularly rough ride in the last three year. Unfortunately, they have held through a 51% decline in the share price in that time. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 29% lower in that time. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 23% in the last 90 days. We note that the company has reported results fairly recently; and the market is hardly delighted. You can check out the latest numbers in our company report.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

Check out our latest analysis for Mercury Systems

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

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Over the three years that the share price declined, Mercury Systems' earnings per share (EPS) dropped significantly, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Mercury Systems' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 6.9% in the last year, Mercury Systems shareholders lost 29%. 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 3%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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 Mercury Systems is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

Mercury Systems 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 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.

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