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If You Had Bought Vistra Energy (NYSE:VST) Stock A Year Ago, You'd Be Sitting On A 36% Loss, Today

Simply Wall St

This month, we saw the Vistra Energy Corp. (NYSE:VST) up an impressive 32%. But that is minimal compensation for the share price under-performance over the last year. After all, the share price is down 36% in the last year, significantly under-performing the market.

View our latest analysis for Vistra 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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

Vistra Energy managed to increase earnings per share from a loss to a profit, over the last 12 months.

When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action. So it makes sense to check out some other factors.

Vistra Energy's revenue is actually up 29% over the last year. Since we can't easily explain the share price movement based on these metrics, it might be worth considering how market sentiment has changed towards the stock.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:VST Income Statement April 22nd 2020

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Vistra Energy

What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?

We've already covered Vistra Energy's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). Arguably the TSR is a more complete return calculation because it accounts for the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested), along with the hypothetical value of any discounted capital that have been offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that Vistra Energy's TSR, which was a 34% drop over the last year, was not as bad as the share price return.

A Different Perspective

The last twelve months weren't great for Vistra Energy shares, which performed worse than the market, costing holders 34% , including dividends . The market shed around 4.9%, no doubt weighing on the stock price. Investors are up over three years, booking 3.9% per year, much better than the more recent returns. Sometimes when a good quality long term winner has a weak period, it's turns out to be an opportunity, but you really need to be sure that the quality is there. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Vistra Energy you should be aware of, and 2 of them don't sit too well with us.

Vistra Energy is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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 US exchanges.

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.

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