There’s a penchant to snap up anything related to tech. And although that is not a bad strategy, one should always look for fundamental value when investing in a company. With “blockchain mania” in full swing, that attitude often goes out the window in favor of herd instinct. That’s why you should avoid Marathon Patent (NASDAQ:MARA) stock, even though it is rallying.
Year-to-date, shares are up more than 100%, although they have lost their way a bit since reaching a 52-week high of $5.25. Still, the share performance is good enough for several retail investors to wonder whether it’s time to believe the hype and pour capital in MARA stock.
However, it pains me to burst their bubble and say that MARA stock still does not have a long-term growth story.
Robinhood Traders Lose the Plot
In many of my columns, I have underlined how Robinhood app traders are unrealistically propping up shares. We’ve seen examples of several bankrupt companies like Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) and JCPenney (OTCMKTS:JCPNQ) experiencing extraordinary spikes in share prices.
Many analysts treat Robinhood app traders as the ultimate novices in investing. College students that make their trades based on instinct rather than fundamentals, Robinhood app traders are used by the market nowadays to assess which stocks to avoid.
The latest spike follows the purchase of new next-generation M31S+ ASIC Miners from MicroBT. The move comes after the company registered a $100 million shelf offering. Proceeds from the offering will be used to make the acquisitions. The company has said that the installation of these new machines will make it cash-flow positive.
As InvestorPlace‘s Matt McCall laid out, that is still a tall order since revenues and operating costs are where its troubles lie:
As for free cash flow (FCF), the company has been operating as a negative FCF entity for some time now. Management’s expectation is reportedly for that to change soon. While in theory, the business model is solid, this is an expensive operation to get up and running. This makes it a tough business to thrive in — and helps explain why the stock has struggled so much.
We don’t have any new information on how revenues will rise, or costs will fall. It’s tough to say that cash flows will become positive just based on MARA’s latest acquisition. Revenues for the year are still shy of $1 million, while costs have already outstripped sales, not a great place to be if you are thinking of turning around a company’s fortunes.
There Are Better Options in the Market
Blockchain is still a relative unknown. Stocks in the space remain risky because you can’t rely on traditional metrics to assess this sector. That’s why analysts always suggest approaching this area with caution, or you stand to get substantially burned. MARA stock relies on cryptocurrencies gaining value and acceptability moving forward. Although I am all for decentralized currency, governments the world over have been averse to accepting cryptocurrencies.
So, although you will always hear the odd story of a cryptocurrency millionaire, the ground reality remains very different. Also, what makes MARA stock particularly unattractive at this moment is the state of the market.
Any deep value investor must be loving where we are at the moment. That’s why it seems a bit too risky investing in MARA when there are no fundamentals to back your decision. At a time when most stocks are trailing their 52-week highs by a fair margin, MARA stock presents a dangerous position to open.
Invest in MARA Stock at Your Own Risk
There is nothing to suggest MARA stock is a viable investment at this point. Its decision to invest in new machines may or may not lead to positive cash flows. However, any future finance that will come from the shelf offering will dilute shareholding by a fair margin. Brownie points received due to positive free cash flow will soon vanish for the average retail investor.
And we are not even considering the overarching issue of cryptocurrency volatility at this point. Any way you slice it, there is nothing to suggest that MARA has a long-term strategy that is worth your capital. Stay away from it until you see any signs of fundamental strength.
Disclosure: On the date of publication, Faizan Farooque did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Faizan Farooque is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. He has several years of experience in analyzing the stock market and was a former data journalist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. His passion is to help the average investor make more informed decisions regarding their portfolio.