Statistically speaking, long term investing is a profitable endeavour. But that doesn't mean long term investors can avoid big losses. Zooming in on an example, the MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS) share price dropped 57% in the last half decade. That's not a lot of fun for true believers. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 26% over the last twelve months. The good news is that the stock is up 1.2% in the last week.
MicroVision isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
In the last half decade, MicroVision saw its revenue increase by 18% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. Unfortunately for shareholders the share price has dropped 16% per year - disappointing considering the growth. It's safe to say investor expectations are more grounded now. Given the revenue growth we'd consider the stock to be quite an interesting prospect if the company has a clear path to profitability.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
A Different Perspective
MicroVision shareholders are down 26% for the year, but the market itself is up 15%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 16% per year over five years. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: MicroVision may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.