Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, long term M/I Homes, Inc. (NYSE:MHO) shareholders have enjoyed a 84% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 44% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 49%.
To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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 five years of share price growth, M/I Homes actually saw its EPS drop 9.8% per year. This means it’s unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn’t seem to correlate with the change in share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics.
In contrast revenue growth of 15% per year is probably viewed as evidence that M/I Homes is growing, a real positive. It’s quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that M/I Homes has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on M/I Homes
A Different Perspective
It’s good to see that M/I Homes has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 49% in the last twelve months. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 13%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Before spending more time on M/I Homes it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.