What happened

Shares of scanning technology-maker MicroVision (NASDAQ:MVIS) took a tumble on Tuesday, falling 10% in response to a negative note from Wolfpack Research, which blasted the company's "ridiculous" valuation, and said stock traders' decision to bid the company up 1,000% in three months in hopes of profiting from "a $1 billion buyout ... have absolutely no basis in reality."

MicroVision's fans didn't like hearing that one bit, and in fairly short order, a Twitter war flared up with the company's supporters leaping to its defense, while detractors (Wolfpack being chief among them) insisted momentum traders are "out of [their] league on this one."

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

MicroVision shares rallied with their defenders, gaining 5.1% yesterday -- about half what they had lost on the short report. But in late Thursday trading, gravity is reasserting itself, and MicroVision shares are down another 8.4% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT, falling even further than they did on Wolfpack's initial criticism.

Is that fair?

Well, if you take a close look at the numbers, it might well be. Unprofitable for the last 25 straight years, there doesn't really seem to be a lot to recommend MicroVision as an investment. True, for a while there (say, through 2018) sales seemed to be growing nicely (although profits remained stubbornly hard to come by). But over the last two years, even sales growth has gone missing. Last year -- even before the coronavirus reared its ugly head, mind you -- sales were a meager $8.9 million, just half what MicroVision managed in 2018.

Now what

Suffice it to say, that's not a lot of sales to be supporting the "$1 billion" market cap that MicroVision fans say it's worth. Sure, there's always the possibility that someone will come along and try to buy the company for 112 times sales. If that does happen, I think MicroVision shareholders should take them up on their offer.

But I wouldn't bet on it happening.