Those who invested in Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) three years ago are up 436%

·3 min read

We think that it's fair to say that the possibility of finding fantastic multi-year winners is what motivates many investors. Mistakes are inevitable, but a single top stock pick can cover any losses, and so much more. One such superstar is Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY), which saw its share price soar 428% in three years. The last week saw the share price soften some 1.4%.

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.

See our latest analysis for Occidental Petroleum

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.

Occidental Petroleum became profitable within the last three years. Given the importance of this milestone, it's not overly surprising that the share price has increased strongly.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Occidental Petroleum's 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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Occidental Petroleum, it has a TSR of 436% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Occidental Petroleum has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 3.6% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 0.7%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Occidental Petroleum better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Occidental Petroleum you should be aware of, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.

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 American exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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