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If You Had Bought Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ:AVXL) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Made 166%

Simply Wall St

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It's been a soft week for Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) shares, which are down 11%. But that doesn't change the fact that shareholders have received really good returns over the last five years. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 166% in that time. So while it's never fun to see a share price fall, it's important to look at a longer time horizon. The more important question is whether the stock is too cheap or too expensive today.

View our latest analysis for Anavex Life Sciences

With zero revenue generated over twelve months, we don't think that Anavex Life Sciences has proved its business plan yet. As a result, we think it's unlikely shareholders are paying much attention to current revenue, but rather speculating on growth in the years to come. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Anavex Life Sciences has the funding to invent a new product before too long.

As a general rule, if a company doesn't have much revenue, and it loses money, then it is a high risk investment. 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 do very well over the long term, others become hyped up by promoters before eventually falling back down to earth, and going bankrupt (or being recapitalized). Anavex Life Sciences has already given some investors a taste of the sweet gains that high risk investing can generate, if your timing is right.

Anavex Life Sciences had cash in excess of all liabilities of just US$13m when it last reported (March 2019). So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. It's a testament to the popularity of the business plan that the share price gained 22% per year, over 5 years, despite the weak balance sheet. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Anavex Life Sciences's cash levels have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:AVXL Historical Debt, May 28th 2019

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. However you can take a look at whether insiders have been buying up shares. It's usually a positive if they have, as it may indicate they see value in the stock. You can click here to see if there are insiders buying.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Anavex Life Sciences shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 27% over one year. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 22% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. You could get a better understanding of Anavex Life Sciences's growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

If you are like me, then you will 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 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 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.