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Stryker Corporation's (NYSE:SYK) Stock Has Shown A Decent Performance: Have Financials A Role To Play?

Stryker's (NYSE:SYK) stock is up by 4.7% over the past month. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. Specifically, we decided to study Stryker's ROE in this article.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Stryker

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

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

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

14% = US$2.6b ÷ US$18b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2023).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.14 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

Stryker's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To begin with, Stryker seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 9.5% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. For this reason, Stryker's five year net income decline of 3.2% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn't translate into earnings growth. 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. These include low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Stryker's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 9.7% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Stryker fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Stryker Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 49% (or a retention ratio of 51%) which is pretty normal, Stryker's 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 could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

In addition, Stryker 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 29% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 22%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Stryker certainly does have some positive factors to consider. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.