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While shareholders of Range Resources (NYSE:RRC) are in the black over 3 years, those who bought a week ago aren't so fortunate

While Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 17% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been spectacular. Over that time, we've been excited to watch the share price climb an impressive 597%. Arguably, the recent fall is to be expected after such a strong rise. The only way to form a view of whether the current price is justified is to consider the merits of the business itself. It really delights us to see such great share price performance for investors.

In light of the stock dropping 9.4% in the past week, we want to investigate the longer term story, and see if fundamentals have been the driver of the company's positive three-year return.

Check out our latest analysis for Range 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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During three years of share price growth, Range Resources moved from a loss to profitability. 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

It is of course excellent to see how Range Resources has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Range Resources' TSR for the last 3 years was 602%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Range Resources shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 46% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 11%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Range Resources .

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.

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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