Marten Transport, Ltd.’s (NASDAQ:MRTN) Stock On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Momentum?

Most readers would already be aware that Marten Transport’s (NASDAQ:MRTN) stock increased significantly by 16% 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Marten Transport’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. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company’s shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Marten Transport

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Marten Transport is:

10% = US$64m ÷ US$629m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

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 $0.10 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

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

Marten Transport’s Earnings Growth And 10% ROE

At first glance, Marten Transport’s ROE doesn’t look very promising. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 14%, the company’s ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. Although, we can see that Marten Transport saw a modest net income growth of 16% over the past five years. So, there might be other aspects that are positively influencing the company’s earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company’s management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

As a next step, we compared Marten Transport’s net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 8.3%.

past-earnings-growth
NasdaqGS:MRTN Past Earnings Growth July 29th 2020

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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is Marten Transport fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Marten Transport Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

In Marten Transport’s case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 9.9% (or a retention ratio of 90%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Additionally, Marten Transport has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders.

Summary

In total, it does look like Marten Transport has some positive aspects to its business. 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, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. To know more about the company’s future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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