Investors in Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) have made a return of 18% over the past year

·2 min read

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE:LEG) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 10% in the last quarter. Looking on the brighter side, the stock is actually up over twelve months. However, its return of 14% does fall short of the market return of, 37%.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

View our latest analysis for Leggett & Platt

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

Leggett & Platt was able to grow EPS by 81% in the last twelve months. This EPS growth is significantly higher than the 14% increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market isn't as excited about Leggett & Platt as it was before. This could be an opportunity.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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

We know that Leggett & Platt has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Leggett & Platt, it has a TSR of 18% for the last 1 year. 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

Leggett & Platt shareholders are up 18% for the year (even including dividends). But that was short of the market average. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 4% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Leggett & Platt better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - Leggett & Platt has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

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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