Those Who Purchased Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNSS) Shares Five Years Ago Have A 98% Loss To Show For It

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It’s nice to see the Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) share price up 18% in a week. But will that repair the damage for the weary investors who have owned this stock as it declined over half a decade? Probably not. Five years have seen the share price descend precipitously, down a full 98%. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we’re certainly hesitant to rejoice. The fundamental business performance will ultimately determine if the turnaround can be sustained.

We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don’t have to lose the lesson.

View our latest analysis for Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals hasn’t yet reported any revenue, so it’s as much a business idea as an actual business. We can’t help wondering why it’s publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that Sunesis Pharmaceuticals has the funding to invent a new product before too long.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress – and share price – will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Some Sunesis Pharmaceuticals investors have already had a taste of the bitterness stocks like this can leave in the mouth.

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals had cash in excess of all liabilities of just US$14m when it last reported (March 2019). So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. With that in mind, you can understand why the share price dropped 52% per year, over 5 years. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Sunesis Pharmaceuticals’s cash levels have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:SNSS Historical Debt, July 17th 2019
NasdaqCM:SNSS Historical Debt, July 17th 2019

It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn’t even have revenue. There’s no way to know its value easily. 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. You can click here to see if there are insiders selling.

A Different Perspective

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals shareholders are down 65% for the year, but the market itself is up 6.4%. 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 52% 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 Sunesis Pharmaceuticals it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

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.