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The 7.9% return this week takes Harbour Energy's (LON:HBR) shareholders one-year gains to 15%

The last three months have been tough on Harbour Energy plc (LON:HBR) shareholders, who have seen the share price decline a rather worrying 32%. But that doesn't change the reality that over twelve months the stock has done really well. In that time we've seen the stock easily surpass the market return, with a gain of 13%.

After a strong gain in the past week, it's worth seeing if longer term returns have been driven by improving fundamentals.

View our latest analysis for Harbour Energy

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the last year Harbour Energy grew its earnings per share, moving from a loss to a profit.

We think the growth looks very prospective, so we're not surprised the market liked it too. Inflection points like this can be a great time to take a closer look at a company.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Harbour Energy's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Harbour Energy the TSR over the last 1 year was 15%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Harbour Energy boasts a total shareholder return of 15% for the last year (that includes the dividends) . Unfortunately the share price is down 32% over the last quarter. Shorter term share price moves often don't signify much about the business itself. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Harbour Energy .

Harbour Energy is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 GB 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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