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If You Had Bought Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MDGL) Stock A Year Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 12% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

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The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. For example, the Madrigal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDGL) share price is down 12% in the last year. That contrasts poorly with the market return of 8.1%. Madrigal Pharmaceuticals may have better days ahead, of course; we've only looked at a one year period. The last month has also been disappointing, with the stock slipping a further 23%.

See our latest analysis for Madrigal Pharmaceuticals

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals hasn't yet reported any revenue yet, so it's as much a business idea as an actual business. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. 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. For example, they may be hoping that Madrigal Pharmaceuticals comes up with a great new treatment, before it runs out of money.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. 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).

When it last reported its balance sheet in December 2018, Madrigal Pharmaceuticals could boast a strong position, with net cash of US$475m. That allows management to focus on growing the business, and not worry too much about raising capital. But since the share price has dropped 12% in the last year, it seems like the market might have been over-excited previously. The image below shows how Madrigal Pharmaceuticals's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

NasdaqCM:MDGL Historical Debt, May 8th 2019

Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? It would bother me, that's for sure. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

Given that the market gained 8.1% in the last year, Madrigal Pharmaceuticals shareholders might be miffed that they lost 12%. While the aim is to do better than that, it's worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. The share price decline has continued throughout the most recent three months, down 9.7%, suggesting an absence of enthusiasm from investors. Given the relatively short history of this stock, we'd remain pretty wary until we see some strong business performance. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Madrigal Pharmaceuticals by clicking this link.

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.

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.