Long term investing is the way to go, but that doesn't mean you should hold every stock forever. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRML) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 73% in that time. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 34% in the last year. Furthermore, it's down 48% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
Because Vermillion is loss-making, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
Over five years, Vermillion grew its revenue at 4.7% per year. That's far from impressive given all the money it is losing. It's not so sure that share price crash of 23% per year is completely deserved, but the market is doubtless disappointed. We'd be pretty cautious about this one, although the sell-off may be too severe. A company like this generally needs to produce profits before it can find favour with new investors.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Vermillion's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
Vermillion shareholders are down 34% for the year, but the market itself is up 1.7%. 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. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 23% 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.
Vermillion 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.