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Those who invested in Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) three years ago are up 193%

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 10% in the last quarter. But in three years the returns have been great. In fact, the share price is up a full 152% compared to three years ago. After a run like that some may not be surprised to see prices moderate. The fundamental business performance will ultimately dictate whether the top is in, or if this is a stellar buying opportunity.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 3 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

View our latest analysis for Exxon Mobil

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.

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During three years of share price growth, Exxon Mobil achieved compound earnings per share growth of 79% per year. The average annual share price increase of 36% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 6.93 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

It is of course excellent to see how Exxon Mobil has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Exxon Mobil, it has a TSR of 193% for the last 3 years. 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 good to see that Exxon Mobil has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 22% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 11% 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. 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. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Exxon Mobil (1 is potentially serious) 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 American 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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