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Investors Who Bought Aethlon Medical (NASDAQ:AEMD) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Down 98%

Simply Wall St

Over the last month the Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEMD) has been much stronger than before, rebounding by 34%. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 98% lower after that period. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.

While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.

See our latest analysis for Aethlon Medical

With just US$523,458 worth of revenue in twelve months, we don't think the market considers Aethlon Medical to have proven its business plan. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won't provide funds on attractive terms. 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. Investors will be hoping that Aethlon Medical can make progress and gain better traction for the business, before it runs low on cash.

As a general rule, if a company doesn't have much revenue, and it loses money, then it is a high risk investment. 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 go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Aethlon Medical has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

When it reported in December 2019 Aethlon Medical had minimal cash in excess of all liabilities consider its expenditure: just US$3.2m to be specific. So if it hasn't remedied the situation already, it will almost certainly have to raise more capital soon. That probably explains why the share price is down 55% per year, over 5 years . The image below shows how Aethlon Medical's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image. The image below shows how Aethlon Medical's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

NasdaqCM:AEMD Historical Debt, February 13th 2020

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

Investors in Aethlon Medical had a tough year, with a total loss of 82%, against a market gain of about 23%. 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 55% 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 business. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should learn about the 6 warning signs we've spotted with Aethlon Medical (including 2 which is shouldn't be ignored) .

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.