U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs

Did You Miss ioneer's (ASX:INR) Whopping 540% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

While ioneer Ltd (ASX:INR) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 16% in the last quarter. But that doesn't undermine the fantastic longer term performance (measured over five years). In fact, during that period, the share price climbed 540%. Impressive! Arguably, the recent fall is to be expected after such a strong rise. The most important thing for savvy investors to consider is whether the underlying business can justify the share price gain.

We love happy stories like this one. The company should be really proud of that performance!

Check out our latest analysis for ioneer

With zero revenue generated over twelve months, we don't think that ioneer has proved its business plan yet. So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that ioneer will find or develop a valuable new mine before too long.

Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress - and share price - will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. ioneer has already given some investors a taste of the sweet gains that high risk investing can generate, if your timing is right.

ioneer has plenty of cash in the bank, with cash in excess of all liabilities sitting at AU$66m, when it last reported (December 2018). This gives management the flexibility to drive business growth, without worrying too much about cash reserves. And given that the share price has shot up 45% per year, over 5 years, its fair to say investors are liking management's vision for the future. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how ioneer's cash levels have changed over time.

ASX:INR Historical Debt, June 17th 2019

In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. One thing you can do is check if company insiders are buying shares. If they are buying a significant amount of shares, that's certainly a good thing. Luckily we are in a position to provide you with this free chart of insider buying (and selling).

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between ioneer's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. We note that ioneer's TSR, at 578% is higher than its share price return of 540%. When you consider it hasn't been paying a dividend, this data suggests shareholders have benefitted from a spin-off, or had the opportunity to acquire attractively priced shares in a discounted capital raising.

A Different Perspective

ioneer shareholders are down 62% for the year, but the market itself is up 12%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 47% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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 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. Thank you for reading.