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Update: New Jersey Resources (NYSE:NJR) Stock Gained 23% In The Last Five Years

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If you buy and hold a stock for many years, you'd hope to be making a profit. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the New Jersey Resources Corporation (NYSE:NJR) share price is up 23% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. The last year has been disappointing, with the stock price down 14% in that time.

See our latest analysis for New Jersey Resources

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, New Jersey Resources achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 0.2% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 4% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on New Jersey Resources' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for New Jersey Resources the TSR over the last 5 years was 42%, 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 24% in the last year, New Jersey Resources shareholders lost 11% (even including dividends). 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 7%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand New Jersey Resources better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for New Jersey Resources you should be aware of, and 1 of them is significant.

But note: New Jersey Resources may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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. 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.

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