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Did You Manage To Avoid Fuel Tech's (NASDAQ:FTEK) Devastating 79% Share Price Drop?

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Simply Wall St
·3 min read
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Over the last month the Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ:FTEK) has been much stronger than before, rebounding by 38%. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. Indeed, the share price is down a whopping 79% in that time. The recent bounce might mean the long decline is over, but we are not confident. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.

Check out our latest analysis for Fuel Tech

Given that Fuel Tech didn't make a profit in the last twelve months, we'll focus on revenue growth to form a quick view of its business development. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.

Over half a decade Fuel Tech reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 13% for each year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. So it's not altogether surprising to see the share price down 27% per year in the same time period. We don't think this is a particularly promising picture. Ironically, that behavior could create an opportunity for the contrarian investor - but only if there are good reasons to predict a brighter future.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NasdaqGS:FTEK Income Statement April 29th 2020
NasdaqGS:FTEK Income Statement April 29th 2020

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. 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 Fuel Tech will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 1.5% in the twelve months, Fuel Tech shareholders did even worse, losing 78%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 27% 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Fuel Tech 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.