If You Had Bought Atlantic Power (TSE:ATP) Stock Five Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 17% Loss, Today

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The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Atlantic Power Corporation (TSE:ATP), since the last five years saw the share price fall 17%. The good news is that the stock is up 4.2% in the last week.

View our latest analysis for Atlantic Power

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 five years of share price growth, Atlantic Power moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it’s counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

It could be that the revenue decline of 9.7% per year is viewed as evidence that Atlantic Power is shrinking. This has probably encouraged some shareholders to sell down the stock.

Depicted in the graphic below, you’ll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.

TSX:ATP Income Statement, June 20th 2019
TSX:ATP Income Statement, June 20th 2019

It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

Investors should note that there’s a difference between Atlantic Power’s total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price change, which we’ve covered above. Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Dividends have been really beneficial for Atlantic Power shareholders, and that cash payout explains why its total shareholder loss of 11%, over the last 5 years, isn’t as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that Atlantic Power has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 8.1% in the last twelve months. That certainly beats the loss of about 2.3% per year over the last half decade. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.