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While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the CRISPR Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) share price has gained 21% in the last three months. But that doesn’t change the fact that the returns over the last year have been less than pleasing. After all, the share price is down 35% in the last year, significantly under-performing the market.
CRISPR Therapeutics recorded just US$2,094,000 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn’t really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won’t provide funds on attractive terms. So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). For example, they may be hoping that CRISPR Therapeutics comes up with a great new treatment, before it runs out of money.
We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty 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 such companies do very well over the long term, others become hyped up by promoters before eventually falling back down to earth, and going bankrupt (or being recapitalized).
When it last reported its balance sheet in March 2019, CRISPR Therapeutics had net cash of US$319m. 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. With the share price down 35% in the last year, it seems likely that the need for cash is weighing on investors’ minds. You can see in the image below, how CRISPR Therapeutics’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 would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.
A Different Perspective
Given that the market gained 3.5% in the last year, CRISPR Therapeutics shareholders might be miffed that they lost 35%. While the aim is to do better than that, it’s worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. It’s great to see a nice little 21% rebound in the last three months. This could just be a bounce because the selling was too aggressive, but fingers crossed it’s the start of a new trend. You might want to assess this data-rich visualization of its earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 email@example.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.