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The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market – but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Calyxt, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLXT) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 36%. That’s disappointing when you consider the market returned 2.8%. Calyxt hasn’t been listed for long, so although we’re wary of recent listings that perform poorly, it may still prove itself with time. Furthermore, it’s down 26% in about a quarter. That’s not much fun for holders.
We don’t think Calyxt’s revenue of US$382,000 is enough to establish significant demand. We can’t help wondering why it’s publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? 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. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Calyxt 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 companies like this go on to deliver on their plan, making good money for shareholders, many end in painful losses and eventual de-listing.
When it last reported its balance sheet in March 2019, Calyxt had cash in excess of all liabilities of US$61m. While that’s nothing to panic about, there is some possibility the company will raise more capital, especially if profits are not imminent. With the share price down 36% in the last year, it seems likely that the need for cash is weighing on investors’ minds. The image below shows how Calyxt’s balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.
In reality it’s hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? It would bother me, that’s for sure. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
Given that the market gained 2.8% in the last year, Calyxt shareholders might be miffed that they lost 36%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. With the stock down 26% over the last three months, the market doesn’t seem to believe that the company has solved all its problems. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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 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.