Despite lower earnings than five years ago, KKR (NYSE:KKR) investors are up 140% since then

The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. One great example is KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE:KKR) which saw its share price drive 124% higher over five years. On top of that, the share price is up 10% in about a quarter.

While this past week has detracted from the company's five-year return, let's look at the recent trends of the underlying business and see if the gains have been in alignment.

See our latest analysis for KKR

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

KKR's earnings per share are down 13% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.

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.

We doubt the modest 1.1% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. On the other hand, KKR's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 21% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

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

KKR is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think KKR will earn in the future (free analyst 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for KKR the TSR over the last 5 years was 140%, 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 KKR shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 42% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 19% 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. If you would like to research KKR in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

But note: KKR 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 American 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.