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We're definitely into long term investing, but some companies are simply bad investments over any time frame. We really hate to see fellow investors lose their hard-earned money. Anyone who held Evoke Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVOK) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 92% in that time. And it's not just long term holders hurting, because the stock is down 69% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 74% in the last 90 days.
While a drop like that is definitely a body blow, money isn't as important as health and happiness.
Evoke Pharma hasn't yet reported any revenue yet, so it's as much a business idea as an actual business. 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 Evoke Pharma 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. 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). It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Evoke Pharma investors might realise.
When it reported in December 2018 Evoke Pharma had minimal net cash consider its expenditure: just US$3.7m to be specific. So if it hasn't remedied the situation already, it will almost certainly have to raise more capital soon. With that in mind, you can understand why the share price dropped 39% per year, over 5 years. You can see in the image below, how Evoke Pharma's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 11% in the last year, Evoke Pharma shareholders lost 69%. 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 39% 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. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
We will like Evoke Pharma better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider 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 email@example.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.