Most readers would already be aware that Ross Stores' (NASDAQ:ROST) stock increased significantly by 42% over the past three months. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. In this article, we decided to focus on Ross Stores' ROE.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
ROE can be calculated by using the formula:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Ross Stores is:
35% = US$1.4b ÷ US$4.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2022).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.35 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.
Ross Stores' Earnings Growth And 35% ROE
Firstly, we acknowledge that Ross Stores has a significantly high ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 29% the company's ROE is pretty decent. However, while Ross Stores has a pretty respectable ROE, its five year net income decline rate was 2.8%. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.
So, as a next step, we compared Ross Stores' 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 34% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is ROST fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Ross Stores Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 26% (or a retention ratio of 74%) which is pretty normal, Ross Stores' declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For example, the business has faced some headwinds.
In addition, Ross Stores has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 26%. Regardless, the future ROE for Ross Stores is predicted to rise to 52% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.
Overall, we feel that Ross Stores certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that's preventing 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.
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