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Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) share price is 62% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 39% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! The longer term returns have not been as good, with the stock price only 21% higher than it was three years ago.
So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 1 year and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
Loews went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.
When a company has just transitioned to profitability, earnings per share growth is not always the best way to look at the share price action.
We doubt the modest 0.4% dividend yield is doing much to support the share price. We think that the revenue growth of 14% could have some investors interested. We do see some companies suppress earnings in order to accelerate revenue growth.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Loews has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 62% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 7% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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. Even so, be aware that Loews is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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