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The total return for Home Depot (NYSE:HD) investors has risen faster than earnings growth over the last five years

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) shareholders have seen the share price descend 13% over the month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been respectable. It's good to see the share price is up 74% in that time, better than its market return of 68%.

While the stock has fallen 5.8% this week, it's worth focusing on the longer term and seeing if the stocks historical returns have been driven by the underlying fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Home Depot

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

During five years of share price growth, Home Depot achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 19% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 12% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Home Depot's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Home Depot the TSR over the last 5 years was 96%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that Home Depot returned a loss of 13% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 15%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 14% for each year. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Home Depot that you should be aware of.

Home Depot 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.

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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