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It is a pleasure to report that the ImpediMed Limited (ASX:IPD) is up 37% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been stomach churning. Indeed, the share price is down a whopping 89% in that time. It's true that the recent bounce could signal the company is turning over a new leaf, but we are not so sure. 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.
ImpediMed wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong 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.
Over half a decade ImpediMed reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 4.8% for each year. While far from catastrophic that is not good. The share price fall of 14% (per year, over five years) is a stern reminder that money-losing companies are expected to grow revenue. It takes a certain kind of mental fortitude (or recklessness) to buy shares in a company that loses money and doesn't grow revenue. Fear of becoming a 'bagholder' may be keeping people away from this stock.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
ImpediMed shareholders are down 12% for the year, but the market itself is up 2.1%. 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, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 14% doled out over the last five years. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for ImpediMed (1 is a bit concerning) that you should be aware of.
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 AU exchanges.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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