For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But the risk of stock picking is that you will likely buy under-performing companies. Unfortunately, that's been the case for longer term Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:RARE) shareholders, since the share price is down 34% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return of around 46%. The more recent news is of little comfort, with the share price down 31% in a year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 29% in the last three months.
Because Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical is loss-making, 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. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
In the last three years, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical saw its revenue grow by 120% per year, compound. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. The share price drop of 13% per year over three years would be considered disappointing by many, so you might argue the company is getting little credit for its impressive revenue growth. It seems likely that actual growth fell short of shareholders' expectations. Still, with high hopes now tempered, now might prove to be an opportunity to buy.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical
A Different Perspective
Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical shareholders are down 31% for the year, but the market itself is up 9.7%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 2.7% 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. 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.
Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical 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.
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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.