Seplat Petroleum Development Shareholders Booked A 39% Gain In The Last Three Years

One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. For example, the Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc (LON:SEPL) share price is up 39% in the last three years, clearly besting than the market return of around 17% (not including dividends).

View our latest analysis for Seplat Petroleum Development

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 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).

Seplat Petroleum Development became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up.

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

LSE:SEPL Past and Future Earnings, March 6th 2019
LSE:SEPL Past and Future Earnings, March 6th 2019

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Seplat Petroleum Development’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Seplat Petroleum Development the TSR over the last 3 years was 55%, 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

Seplat Petroleum Development shareholders are down 5.7% for the year (even including dividends), but the broader market is up 3.1%. Of course the long term matters more than the short term, and even great stocks will sometimes have a poor year. Fortunately the longer term story is brighter, with total returns averaging about 16% per year over three years. The recent sell-off could be an opportunity if the business remains sound, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long-term growth trend. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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