This month, we saw the Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:LXRX) up an impressive 38%. But only the myopic could ignore the astounding decline over three years. To wit, the share price sky-dived 80% in that time. Arguably, the recent bounce is to be expected after such a bad drop. Only time will tell if the company can sustain the turnaround.
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.
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals isn't a profitable company, so 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. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong 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 three years Lexicon Pharmaceuticals saw its revenue shrink by 34% per year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. And as you might expect the share price has been weak too, dropping at a rate of 42% per year. Never forget that loss making companies with falling revenue can and do cause losses for everyday investors. There is a good reason that investors often describe buying a sharply falling stock price as 'trying to catch a falling knife'. Think about it.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
A Different Perspective
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals shareholders are down 62% for the year, but the market itself is up 8.3%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 19% per year over five years. 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.
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.
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