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The total return for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) investors has risen faster than earnings growth over the last year

The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) share price is 55% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market decline of around 21% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. Looking back further, the stock price is 39% higher than it was three years ago.

Since the long term performance has been good but there's been a recent pullback of 9.3%, let's check if the fundamentals match the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Unum Group

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During the last year Unum Group grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 51%. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 55% increase in the share price. This makes us think the market hasn't really changed its sentiment around the company, in the last year. It looks like the share price is responding to the EPS.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

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

We know that Unum Group has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Unum Group will grow revenue in the future.

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Unum Group the TSR over the last 1 year was 61%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Unum Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 61% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 1.5% per year over the last half decade. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Unum Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Unum Group is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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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