Shares of Pool Corp. (POOL -0.27%), the world's leading wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies, popped 42.9% in 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. If we include the dividend -- currently yielding 1% -- shares returned 44.5%. For context, the S&P 500 index returned 31.5% last year.
The consumer discretionary stock has started 2020 on a solid note: It's up 2.2% through Jan. 10, nearly double the S&P 500's 1.1% return.
We can attribute Poor Corp.'s strong 2019 stock rise to its solid financial performance. In the company's most recently reported quarter, the third quarter, its total revenue jumped 11% year over year to $898.5 million. Organic revenue growth was 9%, with two acquisitions (W.W. Adcock and Turf & Garden) contributing 2% to overall revenue growth. All product categories experienced good sales growth, with chemicals up 7%, equipment up 13%, and building materials up 10%.
Earnings per share (EPS) under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) increased 17% to $1.95, while adjusted EPS rose 16% to $1.84. That result beat Wall Street's $1.78 consensus estimate.
CEO Peter Arvan had this to say in the earnings release:
Demand for swimming pool and outdoor living products remains healthy. Favorable weather conditions and outstanding execution by our teams allowed us to deliver solid results for the quarter. With a continued focus on operational excellence, we are in position for a strong finish to the year.
As for Arvan's mention of "outdoor living products," in addition to its core pool products business, the company also sells landscape and irrigation products.
Pool Corp. stock isn't just a one-year outperformer, it's been a big winner over the long term. It's returned 1,250% over the 10-year period through Jan. 10 -- five times the S&P 500's 251% return.
Investors should be getting material news next month. While Pool Corp. hasn't yet scheduled a date for the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 results, they should be coming sometime in mid-February.
For the full-year, Pool Corp. has guided for EPS in the range of $6.20 to $6.40. That represents growth of about 10% to 14% year over year.