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If You Had Bought Lion Energy (ASX:LIO) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 85% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St
·4-min read

Long term investing is the way to go, but that doesn't mean you should hold every stock forever. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. For example, we sympathize with anyone who was caught holding Lion Energy Limited (ASX:LIO) during the five years that saw its share price drop a whopping 85%. And we doubt long term believers are the only worried holders, since the stock price has declined 49% over the last twelve months. It's up 5.9% in the last seven days.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.

See our latest analysis for Lion Energy

We don't think Lion Energy's revenue of US$548,271 is enough to establish significant demand. 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, they may be hoping that Lion Energy finds fossil fuels with an exploration program, 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 to raise equity. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt. Lion Energy has already given some investors a taste of the bitter losses that high risk investing can cause.

Lion Energy had liabilities exceeding cash by US$66k when it last reported in December 2019, according to our data. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But since the share price has dived -32% per year, over 5 years , it looks like some investors think it's time to abandon ship, so to speak. The image below shows how Lion Energy's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image.

ASX:LIO Historical Debt May 5th 2020
ASX:LIO Historical Debt May 5th 2020

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 costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Lion Energy shareholders are down 49% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 13%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 32% 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 5 warning signs with Lion Energy (at least 4 which are significant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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 AU exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.