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The one-year returns have been splendid for Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) shareholders despite underlying losses increasing

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·3-min read
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Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 13% in the last month. On the other hand, over the last twelve months the stock has delivered rather impressive returns. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 136% in that time. So we think most shareholders won't be too upset about the recent fall. Investors should be wondering whether the business itself has the fundamental value required to continue to drive gains.

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

See our latest analysis for Whitehaven Coal

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).

Over the last twelve months, Whitehaven Coal actually shrank its EPS by 19%. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earning in the last twelve months.

Given the share price gain, we doubt the market is measuring progress with EPS. 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.

However the year on year revenue growth of 50% would help. Many businesses do go through a phase where they have to forgo some profits to drive business development, and sometimes its for the best.

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

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Whitehaven Coal will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. In the case of Whitehaven Coal, it has a TSR of 142% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Whitehaven Coal shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 142% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 17% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Whitehaven Coal better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Whitehaven Coal (1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Whitehaven Coal is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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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