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Did Changing Sentiment Drive Hallador Energy's (NASDAQ:HNRG) Share Price Down A Worrying 53%?

Simply Wall St

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While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Hallador Energy Company (NASDAQ:HNRG) share price has gained 14% in the last three months. But over the last half decade, the stock has not performed well. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 53% in that half decade.

View our latest analysis for Hallador 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.

Looking back five years, both Hallador Energy's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 11% per year. This reduction in EPS is less than the 14% annual reduction in the share price. So it seems the market was too confident about the business, in the past.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NasdaqCM:HNRG Past and Future Earnings, July 4th 2019

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

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 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Hallador Energy, it has a TSR of -47% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 9.4% in the last year, Hallador Energy shareholders lost 17% (even including dividends). Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 12% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Before spending more time on Hallador Energy it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.