Why W.W. Grainger, Inc.’s (NYSE:GWW) Cash Is A Factor You Need To Consider

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

If you are currently a shareholder in W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW), or considering investing in the stock, you need to examine how the business generates cash, and how it is reinvested. After investment, what’s left over is what belongs to you, the investor. This also determines how much the stock is worth. I’ve analysed below, the health and outlook of W.W. Grainger’s cash flow, which will help you understand the stock from a cash standpoint. Cash is an important concept to grasp as an investor, as it directly impacts the value of your shares and the future growth potential of your portfolio.

See our latest analysis for W.W. Grainger

Is W.W. Grainger generating enough cash?

W.W. Grainger generates cash through its day-to-day business, which needs to be reinvested into the company in order for it to continue operating. What remains after this expenditure, is known as its free cash flow, or FCF, for short.

The two ways to assess whether W.W. Grainger’s FCF is sufficient, is to compare the FCF yield to the market index yield, as well as determine whether the top-line operating cash flows will continue to grow.

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flows – Net Capital Expenditure

Free Cash Flow Yield = Free Cash Flow / Enterprise Value

where Enterprise Value = Market Capitalisation + Net Debt

W.W. Grainger’s yield of 3.63% indicates its sub-standard capacity to generate cash, compared to the stock market index as a whole, accounting for the size differential. This means investors are taking on more concentrated risk on W.W. Grainger but are not being adequately rewarded for doing so.

NYSE:GWW Net Worth February 6th 19
NYSE:GWW Net Worth February 6th 19

Does W.W. Grainger have a favourable cash flow trend?

Can W.W. Grainger improve its operating cash production in the future? Let’s take a quick look at the cash flow trend the company is expected to deliver over time. In the next couple of years, a double-digit growth in operating cash of 29% is expected. The future seems buoyant if W.W. Grainger can maintain its levels of capital expenditure as well. Below is a table of W.W. Grainger’s operating cash flow in the past year, as well as the anticipated level going forward.
Current +1 year +2 year +3 year
Operating Cash Flow (OCF) US$1.1b US$1.2b US$1.3b US$1.4b
OCF Growth Year-On-Year 14% 9.7% 3.9%
OCF Growth From Current Year 24% 29%

Next Steps:

The company’s low yield relative to the market index means you are taking on more risk holding the single-stock W.W. Grainger as opposed to the diversified market portfolio, and being compensated for less. Though the high operating cash flow growth in the future could change this. Now you know to keep cash flows in mind, I recommend you continue to research W.W. Grainger to get a more holistic view of the company by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is GWW worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether GWW is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management Team: An experienced management team on the helm increases our confidence in the business – take a look at who sits on W.W. Grainger’s board and the CEO’s back ground.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: If you believe you should cushion your portfolio with something less risky, scroll through our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.