Investors in Clearway Energy (NYSE:CWEN.A) have made a solid return of 144% over the past three years

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 19, 2022
NYSE:CWEN.A
Source: Shutterstock

It hasn't been the best quarter for Clearway Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CWEN.A) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 15% in that time. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been very strong. In three years the stock price has launched 111% higher: a great result. After a run like that some may not be surprised to see prices moderate. If the business can perform well for years to come, then the recent drop could be an opportunity.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

Check out our latest analysis for Clearway Energy

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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 the last three years, Clearway Energy failed to grow earnings per share, which fell 28% (annualized).

So we doubt that the market is looking to EPS for its main judge of the company's value. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

The dividend is no better now than it was three years ago, so that is unlikely to have driven the share price higher. It's much more likely that the fact that Clearway Energy has been growing revenue at 6.8% a year is seen as a genuine positive. In that case, the revenue growth might be more important to shareholders, for now, thus justifying a higer share price.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
NYSE:CWEN.A Earnings and Revenue Growth February 19th 2022

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling Clearway Energy stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Clearway Energy the TSR over the last 3 years was 144%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Clearway Energy shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 5.5% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 18% per year, is even more impressive. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Clearway Energy (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

Clearway Energy is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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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