As every investor would know, not every swing hits the sweet spot. But you want to avoid the really big losses like the plague. So consider, for a moment, the misfortune of Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAGE) investors who have held the stock for three years as it declined a whopping 83%. That might cause some serious doubts about the merits of the initial decision to buy the stock, to put it mildly. And more recent buyers are having a tough time too, with a drop of 62% in the last year. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 32% in the last three months. This could be related to the recent financial results - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report. 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.
If the past week is anything to go by, investor sentiment for Sage Therapeutics isn't positive, so let's see if there's a mismatch between fundamentals and the share price.
Sage Therapeutics isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. Generally speaking, companies without profits are expected to grow revenue every year, and at a good clip. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
In the last three years, Sage Therapeutics saw its revenue grow by 66% per year, compound. That is faster than most pre-profit companies. So on the face of it we're really surprised to see the share price down 22% a year in the same time period. You'd want to take a close look at the balance sheet, as well as the losses. Ultimately, revenue growth doesn't amount to much if the business can't scale well. Unless the balance sheet is strong, the company might have to raise capital.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for Sage Therapeutics in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 8.5% in the twelve months, Sage Therapeutics shareholders did even worse, losing 62%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 10% per year over five years. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks, for example - Sage Therapeutics has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.