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Such Is Life: How Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) Shareholders Saw Their Shares Drop 66%

Simply Wall St

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It is a pleasure to report that the Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUG) is up 84% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been disappointing. In that time the share price has delivered a rude shock to holders, who find themselves down 66% after a long stretch. So we're not so sure if the recent bounce should be celebrated. But it could be that the fall was overdone.

See our latest analysis for Plug Power

Plug Power isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good 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 half decade, Plug Power saw its revenue increase by 27% per year. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. In contrast, the share price is has averaged a loss of 19% per year - that's quite disappointing. It's safe to say investor expectations are more grounded now. Given the revenue growth we'd consider the stock to be quite an interesting prospect if the company has a clear path to profitability.

The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).

NasdaqCM:PLUG Income Statement, April 3rd 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Plug Power

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Plug Power shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 38% over the last year. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 19% per year over five years. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Plug Power 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 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. Thank you for reading.