Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. For example, the Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNCE) share price is down 20% in the last year. That's well bellow the market return of 3.8%. The silver lining (for longer term investors) is that the stock is still 5.2% higher than it was three years ago. The good news is that the stock is up 5.0% in the last week.
We don't think Concert Pharmaceuticals's revenue of US$1,078,000 is enough to establish significant demand. We can't help wondering why it's publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems shareholders are too busy dreaming about the progress to come than dwelling on the current (lack of) revenue. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Concert Pharmaceuticals has the funding to invent a new product before too long.
We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. You should be aware that there is always a chance that this sort of company will need to issue more shares to raise money to continue pursuing its business plan. While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt.
Concert Pharmaceuticals had cash in excess of all liabilities of US$109m when it last reported (June 2019). While that's nothing to panic about, there is some possibility the company will raise more capital, especially if profits are not imminent. We'd venture that shareholders are concerned about the need for more capital, because the share price has dropped 20% in the last year. You can see in the image below, how Concert Pharmaceuticals's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values). You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Concert Pharmaceuticals's cash levels have changed over time.
In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 3.8% in the last year, Concert Pharmaceuticals shareholders lost 20%. 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 4.1% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Concert Pharmaceuticals 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.
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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.