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If You Had Bought Intercept Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:ICPT) Shares Five Years Ago You Would Be Down 87%

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We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Anyone who held Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICPT) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 87% in that time. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 80% over the last twelve months. Furthermore, it's down 52% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.

See our latest analysis for Intercept Pharmaceuticals

Intercept Pharmaceuticals wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. 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 five years, Intercept Pharmaceuticals grew its revenue at 45% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. So on the face of it we're really surprised to see the share price has averaged a fall of 13% each year, in the same time period. It could be that the stock was over-hyped before. While there might be an opportunity here, you'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet strength.

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

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Intercept Pharmaceuticals is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. You can see what analysts are predicting for Intercept Pharmaceuticals in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 52% in the last year, Intercept Pharmaceuticals shareholders lost 80%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 13% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Intercept Pharmaceuticals better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Intercept Pharmaceuticals (at least 1 which is concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.