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Investing in Exelon (NASDAQ:EXC) five years ago would have delivered you a 71% gain

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The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. But Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ:EXC) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 44% over five years, which is below the market return. Some buyers are laughing, though, with an increase of 30% in the last year.

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

View our latest analysis for Exelon

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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, Exelon actually saw its EPS drop 7.9% per year.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.

The revenue growth of 1.9% per year hardly seems impressive. So it seems one might have to take closer look at earnings and revenue trends to see how they might influence the share price.

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

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

Exelon is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Exelon, it has a TSR of 71% 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

It's good to see that Exelon has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 35% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 11% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. Take risks, for example - Exelon has 4 warning signs (and 1 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.