Loews' (NYSE:L) three-year total shareholder returns outpace the underlying earnings growth
It might be of some concern to shareholders to see the Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) share price down 13% in the last month. But at least the stock is up over the last three years. Arguably you'd have been better off buying an index fund, because the gain of 80% in three years isn't amazing.
While this past week has detracted from the company's three-year return, let's look at the recent trends of the underlying business and see if the gains have been in alignment.
Check out our latest analysis for Loews
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During three years of share price growth, Loews achieved compound earnings per share growth of 12% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 22% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Loews the TSR over the last 3 years was 83%, 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
While the broader market lost about 12% in the twelve months, Loews shareholders did even worse, losing 16% (even including dividends). However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 1.9%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Take risks, for example - Loews has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
But note: Loews 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 American exchanges.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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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