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In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it’s worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Bear Creek Mining Corporation (CVE:BCM) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 48% in three years, versus a market return of about 22%. And the ride hasn’t got any smoother in recent times over the last year, with the price 28% lower in that time. There was little comfort for shareholders in the last week as the price declined a further 1.4%.
Bear Creek Mining hasn’t yet reported any revenue yet, so it’s as much a business idea as an actual business. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won’t provide funds on attractive terms. As a result, we think it’s unlikely shareholders are paying much attention to current revenue, but rather speculating on growth in the years to come. For example, investors may be hoping that Bear Creek Mining finds some valuable resources, before it runs out of money.
Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some companies like this go on to deliver on their plan, making good money for shareholders, many end in painful losses and eventual de-listing.
Bear Creek Mining had cash in excess of all liabilities of US$21m when it last reported (March 2019). That’s not too bad but management may have to think about raising capital or taking on debt, unless the company is close to breaking even. We’d venture that shareholders are concerned about the need for more capital, because the share price has dropped 19% per year, over 3 years. You can see in the image below, how Bear Creek Mining’s cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I’d like that just about as much as I like to drink milk and fruit juice mixed together. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.
A Different Perspective
Bear Creek Mining shareholders are down 28% for the year, but the market itself is up 0.5%. 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 12% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Before spending more time on Bear Creek Mining it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
Of course Bear Creek Mining 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 CA 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.