Since reaching a June high of $16.15, shares of TRI Pointe (TPH - Get Report) , one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., have fallen as much as 20%. With the stock now trading at around $13, TRI Pointe has seen almost 15% of its value evaporate in 2015, including a 10% decline over the past six months. During that span, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB - Get Report) , which tracks prominent homebuilders like D.R. Horton (DHI - Get Report) and Lennar (LEN - Get Report) , is up 4% in six months and up more than 6% in 2015.
But TRI Pointe, which has beaten Wall Street's earnings-per-share estimates in eight out of 10 quarters, hasn't performed as poorly as its stock price would indicate. During that span, in the two quarters where it didn't beat analysts' estimates, the numbers were in line with consensus. And ahead of its third-quarter fiscal 2015 earnings results Friday, there are tons of reason to expect shares of the Irvine, Calif.-based company to recover.
For the quarter that ended in September, the average analyst earnings-per-share estimate calls for 23 cents a share on revenue of $560 million, translating to year-over-year growth of 230% and 19%, respectively. For the full year ending in December, earnings are projected to climb 107% year over year to $1.20 a share, while full-year revenue of $2.36 billion would mark a 40% year-over-year surge.
That both quarterly and full-year earnings growth projections are expected to exceed 200% and 100%, respectively, is an anomaly. We can agree this growth rate won't continue indefinitely. Nonetheless, it also underscores the focus TRI Pointe management has placed on profitability -- particularly by emphasizing sales of higher-priced homes that produce stronger profit margins.
In the second quarter, for instance, TRI Pointe's adjusted gross margin reached 22%, two percentage points higher than larger competitor D.R. Horton and five percentage points higher than KB Home (KBH - Get Report) . The improved gross margin, coupled with a one-percentage-point improvement in operating expenses, led to a 68% year-over-year increase in second-quarter earnings per share.
Analysts on average expect the company's efforts to unlock shareholder value to continue. Not only does TRI Pointe have a consensus buy rating, its average analyst 12-month price target is $18. TRI Pointe's relatively cheap stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 18, or three points lower than the S&P 500 (SPX) index. Its valuation should climb sooner rather than later, especially considering the increase in residential home construction, suggesting strong quarters ahead for homebuilders.
TRI Pointe, which saw a 62% increase in second-quarter new home orders, is already enjoying tons of pent-up demand. To the extent it can deliver those homes at higher margins, not only will its profits rise, so will its stock price.