Eastern's (NASDAQ:EML) stock up by 9.0% over the past three months. As most would know, long-term fundamentals have a strong correlation with market price movements, 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 Eastern's ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Is ROE Calculated?
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 Eastern is:
5.2% = US$5.4m ÷ US$104m (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2021).
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 $0.05 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.
Eastern's Earnings Growth And 5.2% ROE
At first glance, Eastern's ROE doesn't look very promising. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 11%. Eastern was still able to see a decent net income growth of 12% 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.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Eastern's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 7.7% in the same period, which is great to see.
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. Has the market priced in the future outlook for EML? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report
Is Eastern Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Eastern's three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 25% (implying that it retains 75% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.
Besides, Eastern has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders.
Overall, we feel that Eastern certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Even in spite of the low rate of return, the company has posted impressive earnings growth as a result of reinvesting heavily into its business. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. Our risks dashboard would have the 3 risks we have identified for Eastern.
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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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