Robert Half International's (NYSE:RHI) stock is up by a considerable 27% 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. In this article, we decided to focus on Robert Half International's ROE.
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?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Robert Half International is:
27% = US$327m ÷ US$1.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.27 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.
Robert Half International's Earnings Growth And 27% ROE
First thing first, we like that Robert Half International has an impressive ROE. Secondly, even when compared to the industry average of 13% the company's ROE is quite impressive. However, for some reason, the higher returns aren't reflected in Robert Half International's meagre five year net income growth average of 2.3%. This is generally not the case as when a company has a high rate of return it should usually also have a high earnings growth rate. We reckon that a low growth, when returns are quite high could be the result of certain circumstances like low earnings retention or or poor allocation of capital.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Robert Half International's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 13% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Robert Half International fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is Robert Half International Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Despite having a normal three-year median payout ratio of 36% (or a retention ratio of 64% over the past three years, Robert Half International has seen very little growth in earnings as we saw above. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
In addition, Robert Half International 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 is expected to keep paying out approximately 32% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Robert Half International's future ROE will rise to 44% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.
Overall, we feel that Robert Half International certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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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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