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Investors in Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) have made a notable return of 85% over the past 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. But Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (NYSE:PEG) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 56% over five years, which is below the market return. But if you include dividends then the return is market-beating. Zooming in, the stock is up a respectable 11% 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.

See our latest analysis for Public Service Enterprise Group

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During five years of share price growth, Public Service Enterprise Group actually saw its EPS drop 14% per year. The impact of extraordinary items on earnings, in the last year, partially explain the diversion.

Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

The revenue growth of 0.7% 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.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

Public Service Enterprise Group is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.

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. We note that for Public Service Enterprise Group the TSR over the last 5 years was 85%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Public Service Enterprise Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 14% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 13%. 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. 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. Even so, be aware that Public Service Enterprise Group is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

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 US exchanges.

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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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