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Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:CHK) share price is up 86% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market decline of around 1.3% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. Chesapeake Energy hasn't been listed for long, so it's still not clear if it is a long term winner.
After a strong gain in the past week, it's worth seeing if longer term returns have been driven by improving fundamentals.
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 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.
Chesapeake Energy went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.
We think the growth looks very prospective, so we're not surprised the market liked it too. Inflection points like this can be a great time to take a closer look at a company.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized 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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Chesapeake Energy's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for Chesapeake Energy the TSR over the last 1 year was 94%, 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
Chesapeake Energy shareholders should be happy with the total gain of 94% over the last twelve months, including dividends. And the share price momentum remains respectable, with a gain of 28% in the last three months. This suggests the company is continuing to win over new investors. 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. Take risks, for example - Chesapeake Energy has 5 warning signs (and 2 which make us uncomfortable) we think you should know about.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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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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.