Investing in Equity LifeStyle Properties (NYSE:ELS) five years ago would have delivered you a 115% gain

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These days it’s easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (NYSE:ELS) share price is up 93% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. It’s also good to see that the stock is up 17% in a year.

So let’s investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business’ progress.

Check out our latest analysis for Equity LifeStyle Properties

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During five years of share price growth, Equity LifeStyle Properties achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 6.8% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 14% per year, over the same period. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 58.60.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth

We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Equity LifeStyle Properties’ earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Equity LifeStyle Properties the TSR over the last 5 years was 115%, 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

It’s good to see that Equity LifeStyle Properties has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 19% in the last twelve months. That’s including the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 17% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we’ve spotted with Equity LifeStyle Properties (including 1 which can’t be ignored) .

Of course Equity LifeStyle Properties may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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

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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.