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Imagine Owning VEON (NASDAQ:VEON) While The Price Tanked 70%

Simply Wall St

Generally speaking long term investing is the way to go. But unfortunately, some companies simply don't succeed. To wit, the VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ:VEON) share price managed to fall 70% over five long years. We certainly feel for shareholders who bought near the top. Contrary to the longer term story, the last month has been good for stockholders, with a share price gain of 9.7%.

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See our latest analysis for VEON

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

During five years of share price growth, VEON moved from a loss to profitability. Most would consider that to be a good thing, so it's counter-intuitive to see the share price declining. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.

The steady dividend doesn't really explain why the share price is down. However, revenue has declined at a compound annual rate of 15% per year. With dividends up, but revenue down, some investors might be concluding that the company is no longer growing.

Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.

NasdaqGS:VEON Income Statement, May 15th 2019

VEON is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think VEON will earn in the future (free analyst consensus estimates)

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 VEON the TSR over the last 5 years was -63%, 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

While the broader market gained around 3.5% in the last year, VEON shareholders lost 4.3% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, longer term shareholders are suffering worse, given the loss of 18% doled out over the last five years. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. Importantly, we haven't analysed VEON's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will 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.