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Earnings growth outpaced the splendid 231% return delivered to New Hope (ASX:NHC) shareholders over the last year

New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX:NHC) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 11% in the last month. Despite this, the stock is a strong performer over the last year, no doubt about that. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 181% in that time. So we think most shareholders won't be too upset about the recent fall. The real question is whether the business is trending in the right direction.

The past week has proven to be lucrative for New Hope investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's one-year performance.

See our latest analysis for New Hope

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.

During the last year New Hope saw its earnings per share (EPS) increase strongly. We don't think the exact number is a good guide to the sustainable growth rate, but we do think this sort of increase is impressive. We are not surprised the share price is up. To us, inflection points like this are the best time to take a close look at a stock.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

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. This free interactive report on New Hope's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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 or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, New Hope's TSR for the last 1 year was 231%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that New Hope has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 231% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 31% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand New Hope better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for New Hope (1 doesn't sit too well with us) that you should be aware of.

New Hope 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 AU exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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