What happened

Shares of North American pipeline leader Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) fell about 5.5% last month after investors sold following the company's ho-hum third-quarter 2017 earnings announcement. While Mr. Market remains impatient with the stock, which has moved sideways since early 2015, there are multiple signs that management's turnaround strategy is working.

The company is on pace to increase the annual dividend per share from $0.50 this year to $0.80 in 2018. That shouldn't be a problem, especially considering that the company generated $0.47 per share of distributable cash flow in the most recent quarter. The company is on pace to reach its long-term leverage ratio of five times net debt to EBITDA (adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Essentially, the stock's continued slide seems a bit overdone.

A view looking down a series of pipes.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Fellow Fool Matt DiLallo had the full rundown on Kinder Morgan's recent quarterly performance, reassuring investors that, although the results were relatively boring, everything remains on track from a strategic standpoint. A simple comparison between results through the first nine months of 2017 and the year-ago period echoes that sentiment.

Metric

First Nine Months of 2017

First Nine Months of 2016

Percentage Change

Revenue

$10.0 billion

$9.7 billion

 3%

Operating income

$2.73 billion

$2.64 billion

3.4% 

Net income

$1.21 billion

$506 million

139% 

Adjusted EPS

$0.45

$0.48

(6.25%) 

Source: Kinder Morgan.

Every segment also witnessed year-over-year growth in the non-GAAP metric of earnings before depreciation and amortization (EBDA), with the exception of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited. That may actually have been a major driver for Kinder Morgan stock's dismal performance so far in 2017.

DiLallo also recently summarized CEO Steve Kean's argument that the all-important growth project being developed by the subsidiary, the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, will be completed as planned. It has the support of Canada's top government officials, is sorely needed by oil companies in the affected region, and already has most of the necessary permits in place. The project is a little late, but still is slated to be ready by the end of 2019.

Plus, there's an argument to be made that Kinder Morgan will benefit immensely from one long-term trend that's just getting started: North American energy independence. As the continent becomes a net energy exporter -- and one of the largest energy suppliers in the world -- the pipeline and natural gas storage leader is poised to see its fee-based business model reach new heights.

Now what

Shareholders may be frustrated that Kinder Morgan is executing against its goals for 2017 and still managing to deliver year-to-date stock losses, but it's important to remain patient. The long-term future of the world's largest pipeline owner seems pretty bright. Factors both within management's control and outside it will contribute to growth for the foreseeable future.

Long story short, don't let a 5.5% loss in October disrupt your investing thesis.

Maxx Chatsko has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Kinder Morgan. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.