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ONEOK's (NYSE:OKE) 13% CAGR outpaced the company's earnings growth over the same five-year period

The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the ONEOK, Inc. (NYSE:OKE) share price is up 30% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. However, if you include the dividends then the return is market beating. The last year hasn't been great either, with the stock up just 3.3%.

The past week has proven to be lucrative for ONEOK investors, so let's see if fundamentals drove the company's five-year performance.

View our latest analysis for ONEOK

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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, ONEOK achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 17% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 5% average annual increase in the share price. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. 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 ONEOK'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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of ONEOK, it has a TSR of 84% for the last 5 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 ONEOK has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 9.8% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 13% per year, is even more impressive. 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 ONEOK is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is significant...

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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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