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Baker Hughes (NASDAQ:BKR) ascends 3.6% this week, taking three-year gains to 145%

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But if you buy shares in a really great company, you can more than double your money. For instance the Baker Hughes Company (NASDAQ:BKR) share price is 122% higher than it was three years ago. How nice for those who held the stock! It's also up 12% in about a month. This could be related to the recent financial results that were recently released - you could check the most recent data by reading our company report.

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

Check out our latest analysis for Baker Hughes

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 three years of share price growth, Baker Hughes moved from a loss to profitability. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Baker Hughes' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. In the case of Baker Hughes, it has a TSR of 145% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Baker Hughes shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 0.7% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 0.5% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Baker Hughes better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Baker Hughes that you should be aware of before investing here.

Baker Hughes 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 American 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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