Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 21% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been very strong. Indeed, the share price is up a very strong 106% in that time. It's not uncommon to see a share price retrace a bit, after a big gain. The fundamental business performance will ultimately dictate whether the top is in, or if this is a stellar buying opportunity.
We don't think that Hecla Mining's modest trailing twelve month profit has the market's full attention at the moment. We think revenue is probably a better guide. Generally speaking, we'd consider a stock like this alongside loss-making companies, simply because the quantum of the profit is so low. For shareholders to have confidence a company will grow profits significantly, it must grow revenue.
In the last 3 years Hecla Mining saw its revenue grow at 9.8% per year. That's pretty nice growth. Broadly speaking, this solid progress may well be reflected by the healthy share price gain of 27% per year over three years. It's hard to value pre-profit businesses, but it seems like the market has become a lot more optimistic about this one! Some investors like to buy in just after a company becomes profitable, since that can be a powerful inflexion point.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Hecla Mining has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? You can see what analysts are predicting for Hecla Mining in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Hecla Mining, it has a TSR of 109% 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 Hecla Mining has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 78% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 3%. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Hecla Mining better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Hecla Mining you should be aware of.
If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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