What happened

WisdomTree Investments (NASDAQ:WETF) stock outpaced the market last month by gaining 16% compared to a 3% spike in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally only erased a portion of recent losses for shareholders, though, with the stock down over 20% in the past year compared to a 4% increase in the broader market.

A stock board with numbers and graphs.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

WisdomTree announced modest organic growth in fiscal fourth-quarter results published at the beginning of the month. These gains offset major asset value declines in what was a sharply negative period for most securities.

Yet investors were more interested in reports suggesting the company was looking to sell itself to a larger financial services provider. That prospect formed the basis for last month's rally.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for WisdomTree Investments.

Now what

There's no way to know whether WisdomTree has had advanced merger discussions with other firms or at what price any acquisition might land. Thus, investors should focus on the company's operating prospects that today leave it highly leveraged to the popularity of a few, often commodity-based exchange-traded funds.

WisdomTree executives say they believe the company is positioned well with products that should fill investor ETF demand in the year ahead. If that's true, then the stock's rally could push deeper into 2019.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.