While Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited (LON:GKP) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 12% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been very strong. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 123% in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. Ultimately business performance will determine whether the stock price continues the positive long term trend.
So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 5 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During five years of share price growth, Gulf Keystone Petroleum actually saw its EPS drop 1.3% per year.
So it's hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
In fact, the dividend has increased over time, which is a positive. It could be that the company is reaching maturity and dividend investors are buying for the yield. We'd posit that the revenue growth over the last five years, of 10% per year, would encourage people to invest.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It is of course excellent to see how Gulf Keystone Petroleum has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling Gulf Keystone Petroleum stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
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 Gulf Keystone Petroleum the TSR over the last 5 years was 306%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Gulf Keystone Petroleum has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 60% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 32%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Gulf Keystone Petroleum (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) you should know about.
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.
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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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