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Should Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ:LANC) Be Disappointed With Their 68% Profit?

Simply Wall St

Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Lancaster Colony Corporation (NASDAQ:LANC) share price is up 68% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 43% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 5.5% in the last year, including dividends.

View our latest analysis for Lancaster Colony

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During five years of share price growth, Lancaster Colony achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 7.1% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 11% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

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

NasdaqGS:LANC Past and Future Earnings, August 5th 2019

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Lancaster Colony's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Lancaster Colony the TSR over the last 5 years was 92%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Lancaster Colony shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 5.5% over one year. That's including the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 14% a year, is even better. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. If you would like to research Lancaster Colony in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

But note: Lancaster Colony may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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.