Long term investing can be life changing when you buy and hold the truly great businesses. While the best companies are hard to find, but they can generate massive returns over long periods. Just think about the savvy investors who held GeoPark Limited (NYSE:GPRK) shares for the last five years, while they gained 385%. If that doesn't get you thinking about long term investing, we don't know what will. It's also good to see the share price up 58% over the last quarter.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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, GeoPark moved from a loss to profitability. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. So it might be better to look at other metrics to try to understand the share price.
We doubt the modest 0.6% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. In contrast revenue growth of 25% per year is probably viewed as evidence that GeoPark is growing, a real positive. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
This free interactive report on GeoPark's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for GeoPark the TSR over the last 5 years was 390%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
GeoPark shareholders are down 38% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 23%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 37% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand GeoPark better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for GeoPark that you should be aware of.
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 US exchanges.
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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. 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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