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Installed Building Products (NYSE:IBP) jumps 9.9% this week, though earnings growth is still tracking behind three-year shareholder returns

By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, the Installed Building Products, Inc. (NYSE:IBP) share price is up 52% in the last three years, clearly besting the market return of around 26% (not including dividends).

Since it's been a strong week for Installed Building Products shareholders, let's have a look at trend of the longer term fundamentals.

See our latest analysis for Installed Building Products

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

During three years of share price growth, Installed Building Products achieved compound earnings per share growth of 41% per year. The average annual share price increase of 15% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock.

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

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We know that Installed Building Products has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Installed Building Products' TSR for the last 3 years was 57%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that Installed Building Products returned a loss of 15% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 19%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 7% for each year. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. 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. Even so, be aware that Installed Building Products is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those are concerning...

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

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