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Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) shareholders have endured a 41% loss from investing in the stock three years ago

In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 41% in three years, versus a market return of about 23%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 19% in the last three months.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

Check out our latest analysis for Ionis Pharmaceuticals

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

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During five years of share price growth, Ionis Pharmaceuticals moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.

Arguably the revenue decline of 6.5% per year has people thinking Ionis Pharmaceuticals is shrinking. And that's not surprising, since it seems unlikely that EPS growth can continue for long in the absence of revenue growth.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Ionis Pharmaceuticals is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Ionis Pharmaceuticals shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 19% over one year. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 5% per year over five years. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Ionis Pharmaceuticals better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - Ionis Pharmaceuticals has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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