Stock Analysis

Investors in Equitable Holdings (NYSE:EQH) have seen decent returns of 54% over the past three years

NYSE:EQH
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By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. Just take a look at Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EQH), which is up 43%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 18% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 2.1% , including dividends .

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

View our latest analysis for Equitable Holdings

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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, Equitable Holdings achieved compound earnings per share growth of 290% per year. The average annual share price increase of 13% is actually lower than the EPS growth. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. We'd venture the lowish P/E ratio of 8.66 also reflects the negative sentiment around the stock.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
NYSE:EQH Earnings Per Share Growth October 18th 2023

It is of course excellent to see how Equitable Holdings has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling Equitable Holdings stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Equitable Holdings, it has a TSR of 54% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Equitable Holdings shareholders are up 2.1% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 9% a year, over half a decade) look better. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Equitable Holdings you should be aware of, and 1 of them is significant.

Of course Equitable Holdings may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on American exchanges.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Equitable Holdings is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.