Chesapeake Utilities' (NYSE:CPK) 13% CAGR outpaced the company's earnings growth over the same five-year period

Published
June 28, 2022
NYSE:CPK
Source: Shutterstock

Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. To wit, the Chesapeake Utilities share price has climbed 68% in five years, easily topping the market return of 52% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 5.0% in the last year , including dividends .

Since it's been a strong week for Chesapeake Utilities shareholders, let's have a look at trend of the longer term fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Chesapeake Utilities

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, Chesapeake Utilities achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 12% per year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 11% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth
NYSE:CPK Earnings Per Share Growth June 28th 2022

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Chesapeake Utilities' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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 Chesapeake Utilities the TSR over the last 5 years was 83%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Chesapeake Utilities shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 5.0% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 13% per year, is even more impressive. The pessimistic view would be that be that the stock has its best days behind it, but on the other hand the price might simply be moderating while the business itself continues to execute. 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 Chesapeake Utilities (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) you should know about.

But note: Chesapeake Utilities may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.