It's not possible to invest over long periods without making some bad investments. But you want to avoid the really big losses like the plague. So take a moment to sympathize with the long term shareholders of Akorn, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX), who have seen the share price tank a massive 89% over a three year period. That might cause some serious doubts about the merits of the initial decision to buy the stock, to put it mildly. And the ride hasn't got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 78% lower in that time. Furthermore, it's down 27% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
Akorn isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
In the last three years Akorn saw its revenue shrink by 15% per year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. The swift share price decline at an annual compound rate of 51%, reflects this weak fundamental performance. Never forget that loss making companies with falling revenue can and do cause losses for everyday investors. It's worth remembering that investors call buying a steeply falling share price 'catching a falling knife' because it is a dangerous pass time.
Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.
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 Akorn
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 12% in the last year, Akorn shareholders lost 78%. 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 35% 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. 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.
Akorn is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.