When you buy shares in a company, it’s worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For example, the NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) share price has soared 141% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. It’s also good to see the share price up 13% over the last quarter. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 7.9% in 90 days).
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.
Over half a decade, NextEra Energy managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.5% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 19% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for NextEra Energy the TSR over the last 5 years was 177%, 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
It’s good to see that NextEra Energy has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 57% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 23% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. Take risks, for example – NextEra Energy has 3 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.
We will like NextEra Energy better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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