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New York Times (NYSE:NYT) jumps 3.5% this week, though earnings growth is still tracking behind five-year shareholder returns

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We think all investors should try to buy and hold high quality multi-year winners. While the best companies are hard to find, but they can generate massive returns over long periods. To wit, the The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) share price has soared 398% over five years. If that doesn't get you thinking about long term investing, we don't know what will. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 27% gain in the last three months.

On the back of a solid 7-day performance, let's check what role the company's fundamentals have played in driving long term shareholder returns.

Check out our latest analysis for New York Times

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During five years of share price growth, New York Times achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 21% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 38% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 66.42.

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

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

It is of course excellent to see how New York Times has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for New York Times the TSR over the last 5 years was 416%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

New York Times provided a TSR of 31% over the year (including dividends). That's fairly close to the broader market return. It has to be noted that the recent return falls short of the 39% shareholders have gained each year, over half a decade. Although the share price growth has slowed, the longer term story points to a business well worth watching. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand New York Times better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for New York Times that you should be aware of.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.

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.

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

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