Independence Gold Corp. (CVE:IGO) has rebounded strongly over the last week, with the share price soaring 40%. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. After all, the share price is down 48% in the last three years, significantly under-performing the market.
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Independence Gold didn't have any revenue in the last year, so it's fair to say it doesn't yet have a proven product (or at least not one people are paying for). You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. 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 Independence Gold will find or develop a valuable new mine 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 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).
Independence Gold had cash in excess of all liabilities of CA$2.1m when it last reported (December 2018). 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 20% per year, over 3 years, it seems likely that the need for cash is weighing on investors' minds. You can see in the image below, how Independence Gold's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Independence Gold had a tough year, with a total loss of 22%, against a market gain of about 1.5%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 12% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett 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 businesses. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
We will like Independence Gold better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA 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.