Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. Investors in American Finance Trust, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFIN) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 45%. That’s well below the market return of 19%. Because American Finance Trust hasn’t been listed for many years, the market is still learning about how the business performs. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 25% in the last three months.

See our latest analysis for American Finance Trust

American Finance Trust 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. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.

In just one year American Finance Trust saw its revenue fall by 0.7%. That looks pretty grim, at a glance. The stock price has languished lately, falling 45% in a year. That seems pretty reasonable given the lack of both profits and revenue growth. We think most holders must believe revenue growth will improve, or else costs will decline.

The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think American Finance Trust will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for American Finance Trust the TSR over the last year was -39%, 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

While American Finance Trust shareholders are down 39% for the year (even including dividends), the market itself is up 19%. While the aim is to do better than that, it’s worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. The share price decline has continued throughout the most recent three months, down 25%, suggesting an absence of enthusiasm from investors. Given the relatively short history of this stock, we’d remain pretty wary until we see some strong business performance. It’s always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand American Finance Trust better, we need to consider many other factors. To that end, you should be aware of the 4 warning signs we’ve spotted with American Finance Trust .

American Finance Trust is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 US exchanges.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email [email protected]