Investors can approximate the average market return by buying an index fund. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. For example, the Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNST) share price is down 16% in the last year. That contrasts poorly with the market return of 6.5%. Constellation Pharmaceuticals hasn't been listed for long, so although we're wary of recent listings that perform poorly, it may still prove itself with time. In the last ninety days we've seen the share price slide 20%.
With zero revenue generated over twelve months, we don't think that Constellation Pharmaceuticals has proved its business plan yet. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. 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 Constellation 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. There is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some companies like this go on to deliver on their plan, making good money for shareholders, many end in painful losses and eventual de-listing.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals had cash in excess of all liabilities of US$77m when it last reported (March 2019). While that's nothing to panic about, there is some possibility the company will raise more capital, especially if profits are not imminent. With the share price down 16% in the last year, it seems likely that the need for cash is weighing on investors' minds. You can see in the image below, how Constellation Pharmaceuticals's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values). The image below shows how Constellation Pharmaceuticals's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.
It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn't even have revenue. There's no way to know its value easily. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? I'd like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.
A Different Perspective
While Constellation Pharmaceuticals shareholders are down 16% for the year, the market itself is up 6.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. It's worth noting that the last three months did the real damage, with a 20% decline. This probably signals that the business has recently disappointed shareholders - it will take time to win them back. Before spending more time on Constellation Pharmaceuticals it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
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 email@example.com. 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.