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 the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. One great example is Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) which saw its share price drive 212% higher over five years.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 the last half decade, Louisiana-Pacific became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. Indeed, the Louisiana-Pacific share price has gained 117% in three years. During the same period, EPS grew by 34% each year. That makes the EPS growth rather close to the annualized share price gain of 29% over the same period. So one might argue that investor sentiment towards the stock hss not changed much over time. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Louisiana-Pacific's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. We note that for Louisiana-Pacific the TSR over the last 5 years was 234%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Louisiana-Pacific has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 125% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 27%. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Louisiana-Pacific better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Louisiana-Pacific , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Louisiana-Pacific is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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. 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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