Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. For example, the Eloxx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ELOX) share price is down 36% in the last year. That's well bellow the market return of 3.8%. Because Eloxx Pharmaceuticals hasn't been listed for many years, the market is still learning about how the business performs. Furthermore, it's down 29% 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.
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Eloxx Pharmaceuticals didn't have any revenue in the last year, so it's fair to say it doesn't yet have a proven product (or at least not one people are paying for). We can't help wondering why it's publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). Investors will be hoping that Eloxx Pharmaceuticals can make progress and gain better traction for the business, before it runs low on cash.
Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress - and share price - will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. 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).
Eloxx Pharmaceuticals had cash in excess of all liabilities of just US$31m when it last reported (March 2019). 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 36% in the last year. You can see in the image below, how Eloxx Pharmaceuticals's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn't even have revenue. There's no way to know its value easily. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? I'd like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
Given that the market gained 3.8% in the last year, Eloxx Pharmaceuticals shareholders might be miffed that they lost 36%. 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. With the stock down 29% over the last three months, the market doesn't seem to believe that the company has solved all its problems. Given the relatively short history of this stock, we'd remain pretty wary until we see some strong business performance. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.
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