Advertisement
New Zealand markets close in 1 hour 21 minutes
  • NZX 50

    11,756.50
    -26.89 (-0.23%)
     
  • NZD/USD

    0.6129
    +0.0005 (+0.09%)
     
  • NZD/EUR

    0.5647
    +0.0009 (+0.16%)
     
  • ALL ORDS

    8,054.00
    +54.80 (+0.69%)
     
  • ASX 200

    7,784.10
    +56.50 (+0.73%)
     
  • OIL

    77.98
    +0.26 (+0.33%)
     
  • GOLD

    2,348.70
    +14.20 (+0.61%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    18,808.35
    +184.95 (+0.99%)
     
  • FTSE

    8,317.59
    -21.64 (-0.26%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    39,069.59
    +4.29 (+0.01%)
     
  • DAX

    18,693.37
    +2.07 (+0.01%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    18,700.49
    +91.55 (+0.49%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    38,758.96
    +112.85 (+0.29%)
     
  • NZD/JPY

    96.0290
    -0.0570 (-0.06%)
     

Does The Market Have A Low Tolerance For Autohome Inc.'s (NYSE:ATHM) Mixed Fundamentals?

It is hard to get excited after looking at Autohome's (NYSE:ATHM) recent performance, when its stock has declined 6.6% over the past three months. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, and therefore we decided to pay more attention to the company's financial performance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Autohome's ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Autohome

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

ADVERTISEMENT

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Autohome is:

7.6% = CN¥1.9b ÷ CN¥25b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.08.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

A Side By Side comparison of Autohome's Earnings Growth And 7.6% ROE

When you first look at it, Autohome's ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, its ROE is similar to the industry average of 7.9%, so we won't completely dismiss the company. But Autohome saw a five year net income decline of 14% over the past five years. Bear in mind, the company does have a slightly low ROE. Therefore, the decline in earnings could also be the result of this.

So, as a next step, we compared Autohome's performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 4.0% over the last few years.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. What is ATHM worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ATHM is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Autohome Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Autohome's low three-year median payout ratio of 24% (implying that it retains the remaining 76% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. This typically shouldn't be the case when a company is retaining most of its earnings. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

In addition, Autohome has been paying dividends over a period of four years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is preferred by the management even though earnings have been in decline. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 69% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the higher expected payout ratio.

Conclusion

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Autohome's performance. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

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.