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Did Landstar System's (NASDAQ:LSTR) Share Price Deserve to Gain 68%?

Simply Wall St

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Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. To wit, the Landstar System share price has climbed 68% in five years, easily topping the market return of 44% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 2.2% in the last year, including dividends.

View our latest analysis for Landstar System

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.

Over half a decade, Landstar System managed to grow its earnings per share at 21% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 11% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.

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

NasdaqGS:LSTR Past and Future Earnings, July 16th 2019

We know that Landstar System has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Landstar System's TSR for the last 5 years was 78%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Landstar System shareholders gained a total return of 2.2% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 12% per year for five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. If you would like to research Landstar System in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.