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Imagine Owning Whitecap Resources (TSE:WCP) While The Price Tanked 66%

Simply Wall St

If you are building a properly diversified stock portfolio, the chances are some of your picks will perform badly. But long term Whitecap Resources Inc. (TSE:WCP) shareholders have had a particularly rough ride in the last three year. Regrettably, they have had to cope with a 66% drop in the share price over that period. It's down 4.5% in the last seven days.

See our latest analysis for Whitecap Resources

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During five years of share price growth, Whitecap Resources moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. So given the share price is down it's worth checking some other metrics too.

We note that the dividend seems healthy enough, so that probably doesn't explain the share price drop. We like that Whitecap Resources has actually grown its revenue over the last three years. But it's not clear to us why the share price is down. It might be worth diving deeper into the fundamentals, lest an opportunity goes begging.

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

TSX:WCP Income Statement, December 4th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

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 Whitecap Resources the TSR over the last 3 years was -60%, 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

Investors in Whitecap Resources had a tough year, with a total loss of 3.3% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 11%. 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. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 13% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We'd need to see some sustained improvements in the key metrics before we could muster much enthusiasm. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Whitecap Resources by clicking this link.

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 CA 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.

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. Thank you for reading.