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Lennar (NYSE:LEN) stock performs better than its underlying earnings growth over last three years

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It hasn't been the best quarter for Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 13% in that time. But over three years, the returns would have left most investors smiling In the last three years the share price is up, 48%: better than the market.

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

View our latest analysis for Lennar

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).

During three years of share price growth, Lennar achieved compound earnings per share growth of 36% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 14% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 4.87.

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

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

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Lennar, it has a TSR of 53% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Lennar shareholders are down 25% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 17%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 7%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Lennar (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable) that you should be aware of.

But note: Lennar may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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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