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If You Had Bought Cenovus Energy (TSE:CVE) Stock Five Years Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 56% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

While not a mind-blowing move, it is good to see that the Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSE:CVE) share price has gained 12% in the last three months. But that is little comfort to those holding over the last half decade, sitting on a big loss. The share price has failed to impress anyone , down a sizable 56% during that time. Some might say the recent bounce is to be expected after such a bad drop. We'd err towards caution given the long term under-performance.

See our latest analysis for Cenovus Energy

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 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.

Cenovus Energy became profitable within the last five years. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

Revenue is actually up 6.6% over the time period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

TSX:CVE Income Statement, November 18th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. 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. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Cenovus Energy, it has a TSR of -51% for the last 5 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

We're pleased to report that Cenovus Energy shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 18% over one year. And that does include the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 13% per year over five years. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Cenovus Energy 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 CA 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.