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Investors in Haverty Furniture Companies (NYSE:HVT) have seen strong returns of 112% over the past five years

The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. But Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc. (NYSE:HVT) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 46% over five years, which is below the market return. However, if you include the dividends then the return is market beating. Meanwhile, the last twelve months saw the share price rise 3.0%.

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

See our latest analysis for Haverty Furniture Companies

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.

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Over half a decade, Haverty Furniture Companies managed to grow its earnings per share at 19% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 8% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 9.17.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

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

It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Haverty Furniture Companies' earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Haverty Furniture Companies the TSR over the last 5 years was 112%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Haverty Furniture Companies provided a TSR of 10% over the last twelve months. But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 16% a year, over half a decade) look better. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Haverty Furniture Companies .

We will like Haverty Furniture Companies better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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