# The J. M. Smucker Company's (NYSE:SJM) Financial Prospects Don't Look Very Positive: Could It Mean A Stock Price Drop In The Future?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
February 22, 2022

Most readers would already know that J. M. Smucker's (NYSE:SJM) stock increased by 4.0% over the past three months. However, its weak financial performance indicators makes us a bit doubtful if that trend could continue. Particularly, we will be paying attention to J. M. Smucker's ROE today.

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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for J. M. Smucker

### How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

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 J. M. Smucker is:

9.3% = US\$768m ÷ US\$8.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2021).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every \$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn \$0.09 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. 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.

### J. M. Smucker's Earnings Growth And 9.3% ROE

On the face of it, J. M. Smucker's ROE is not much to talk about. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 10%, we may spare it some thought. However, J. M. Smucker has seen a flattish net income growth over the past five years, which is not saying much. Bear in mind, the company's ROE is not very high. Hence, this provides some context to the flat earnings growth seen by the company.

We then compared J. M. Smucker's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 4.6% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

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. If you're wondering about J. M. Smucker's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

### Is J. M. Smucker Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

The high three-year median payout ratio of 52% (meaning, the company retains only 48% of profits) for J. M. Smucker suggests that the company's earnings growth was miniscule as a result of paying out a majority of its earnings.

In addition, J. M. Smucker 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 44%. Regardless, the future ROE for J. M. Smucker is predicted to rise to 12% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.

### Summary

In total, we would have a hard think before deciding on any investment action concerning J. M. Smucker. Because the company is not reinvesting much into the business, and given the low ROE, it's not surprising to see the lack or absence of growth in its earnings. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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.

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