Unless you borrow money to invest, the potential losses are limited. But if you pick the right business to buy shares in, you can make more than you can lose. Take, for example Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ:CLNE). Its share price is already up an impressive 103% in the last twelve months. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 67% gain in the last three months. However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 12% in the last three years.
Clean Energy Fuels isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good 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.
In the last year Clean Energy Fuels saw its revenue grow by 1.4%. That's not great considering the company is losing money. In contrast, the share price took off during the year, gaining 103%. We're happy that investors have made money, though we wonder if the increase will be sustained. It's quite likely that the market is considering other factors, not just revenue growth.
The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Clean Energy Fuels
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Clean Energy Fuels shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 103% over the last year. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 18% per year over five years. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
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 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.