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The past year for Spero Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SPRO) investors has not been profitable

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It's easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. Unfortunately the Spero Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPRO) share price slid 49% over twelve months. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around 7.0%. The silver lining (for longer term investors) is that the stock is still 2.7% higher than it was three years ago. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 38% in the last three months.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

See our latest analysis for Spero Therapeutics

Because Spero Therapeutics made a loss in the last twelve months, we think the market is probably more focussed on revenue and revenue growth, at least for now. 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 twelve months, Spero Therapeutics increased its revenue by 58%. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. The share price drop of 49% over twelve months would be considered disappointing by many, so you might argue the company is getting little credit for its impressive revenue growth. Prima facie, revenue growth like that should be a good thing, so it's worth checking whether losses have stabilized. Our monkey brains haven't evolved to think exponentially, so humans do tend to underestimate companies that have exponential growth.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Take a more thorough look at Spero Therapeutics' financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

The last twelve months weren't great for Spero Therapeutics shares, which cost holders 49%, while the market was up about 7.0%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Investors are up over three years, booking 0.9% per year, much better than the more recent returns. Sometimes when a good quality long term winner has a weak period, it's turns out to be an opportunity, but you really need to be sure that the quality is there. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Spero Therapeutics better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Spero Therapeutics that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Spero Therapeutics may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.