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Does Duke Energy's (NYSE:DUK) Share Price Gain of 29% Match Its Business Performance?

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Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But across the board there are plenty of stocks that underperform the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) share price is up 29% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Having said that, the 24% increase over the past year is good to see.

Check out our latest analysis for Duke 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.

During the three years of share price growth, Duke Energy actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 25% per year.

So we doubt that the market is looking to EPS for its main judge of the company's value. 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.

You can only imagine how long term shareholders feel about the declining revenue trend (slipping at 0.3% per year). The only thing that's clear is there is low correlation between Duke Energy's share price and its historic fundamental data. Further research may be required!

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

Duke Energy is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus 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 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. As it happens, Duke Energy's TSR for the last 3 years was 46%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Duke Energy shareholders are up 29% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 9% over half a decade This suggests the company might be improving over time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should learn about the 6 warning signs we've spotted with Duke Energy (including 1 which shouldn't be ignored) .

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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

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. 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.

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