Ecoark Holdings (NASDAQ:ZEST) shareholders have endured a 88% loss from investing in the stock five years ago

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Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEST) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 12% in the last month. But that doesn’t change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 88% lower after that period. So we don’t gain too much confidence from the recent recovery. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained. We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It’s a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it’s worth keeping in mind there’s more to life than money, anyway.

Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they’ve been consistent with returns.

Check out our latest analysis for Ecoark Holdings

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Ecoark Holdings became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it’s counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 19% a year in the five year period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth

You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 31% in the last year, Ecoark Holdings shareholders lost 51%. 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. Regrettably, last year’s performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 13% per year over five years. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 3 warning signs for Ecoark Holdings (of which 1 shouldn’t be ignored!) you should know about.

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 US 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.

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