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Has The Progressive Corporation's (NYSE:PGR) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

·4-min read

Progressive's (NYSE:PGR) stock is up by a considerable 11% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on Progressive's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

Check out our latest analysis for Progressive

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity 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 Progressive is:

5.4% = US$852m ÷ US$16b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.05 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.

Progressive's Earnings Growth And 5.4% ROE

On the face of it, Progressive's ROE is not much to talk about. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 11%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. However, the moderate 14% net income growth seen by Progressive over the past five years is definitely a positive. So, the growth in the company's earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

As a next step, we compared Progressive's net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 14% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is PGR worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether PGR is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Progressive Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Progressive has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 49% (or a retention ratio of 51%) and a respectable amount of growth in earnings as we saw above, meaning that the company has been making efficient use of its profits.

Besides, Progressive has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 50% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Progressive's future ROE will rise to 21% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Progressive certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Despite its low rate of return, the fact that the company reinvests a very high portion of its profits into its business, no doubt contributed to its high earnings growth. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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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