Did Business Growth Power Huntington Ingalls Industries’s (NYSE:HII) Share Price Gain of 121%?

When you buy shares in a company, it’s worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. One great example is Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HII) which saw its share price drive 121% higher over five years. On top of that, the share price is up 25% in about a quarter. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 11% in the last three months.

View our latest analysis for Huntington Ingalls Industries

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

Over half a decade, Huntington Ingalls Industries managed to grow its earnings per share at 14% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 17% per year, over the same period. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:HII Past and Future Earnings, January 3rd 2020
NYSE:HII Past and Future Earnings, January 3rd 2020

While share prices often depend primarily on earnings, they can be sensitive to an investment’s risk level as well. For example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Huntington Ingalls Industries which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. As it happens, Huntington Ingalls Industries’s TSR for the last 5 years was 136%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Huntington Ingalls Industries provided a TSR of 33% over the year (including dividends) . That’s fairly close to the broader market return. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 19% per year. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

We will like Huntington Ingalls Industries better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, 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.

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.

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