Investors in Lumen Technologies (NYSE:LUMN) have unfortunately lost 20% over the last five years

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 14, 2021
NYSE:LUMN
Source: Shutterstock

Ideally, your overall portfolio should beat the market average. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. So we wouldn't blame long term Lumen Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:LUMN) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 51% over a half decade. Even worse, it's down 16% in about a month, which isn't fun at all.

It's worthwhile assessing if the company's economics have been moving in lockstep with these underwhelming shareholder returns, or if there is some disparity between the two. So let's do just that.

See our latest analysis for Lumen Technologies

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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).

In the last half decade Lumen Technologies saw its share price fall as its EPS declined below zero. The recent extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it's hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. But we would generally expect a lower price, given the situation.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
NYSE:LUMN Earnings Per Share Growth December 14th 2021

We know that Lumen Technologies has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? This free interactive report on Lumen Technologies' balance sheet strength 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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Lumen Technologies the TSR over the last 5 years was -20%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

Lumen Technologies shareholders have received returns of 24% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the general market return. The silver lining is that the share price is up in the short term, which flies in the face of the annualised loss of 4% over the last five years. We're pretty skeptical of turnaround stories, but it's good to see the recent share price recovery. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Lumen Technologies (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) 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.

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