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Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ:IEP) shareholders have earned a 6.0% CAGR over the last three years

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In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term Icahn Enterprises L.P. (NASDAQ:IEP) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 18% in three years, versus a market return of about 81%.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

Check out our latest analysis for Icahn Enterprises

While Icahn Enterprises made a small profit, in the last year, we think that the market is probably more focussed on the top line growth at the moment. As a general rule, we think this kind of company is more comparable to loss-making stocks, since the actual profit is so low. It would be hard to believe in a more profitable future without growing revenues.

In the last three years Icahn Enterprises saw its revenue shrink by 5.9% per year. That is not a good result. The stock has disappointed holders over the last three years, falling 6%, annualized. And with no profits, and weak revenue, are you surprised? However, in this kind of situation you can sometimes find opportunity, where sentiment is negative but the company is actually making good progress.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Icahn Enterprises' TSR for the last 3 years was 19%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Icahn Enterprises shareholders are up 26% for the year (even including dividends). But that was short of the market average. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 14% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Icahn Enterprises better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Icahn Enterprises is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is potentially serious...

Icahn Enterprises is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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. 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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