Alcoa Corporation's (NYSE:AA) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
July 18, 2021
NYSE:AA
Source: Shutterstock

With its stock down 12% over the past week, it is easy to disregard Alcoa (NYSE:AA). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. In this article, we decided to focus on Alcoa's ROE.

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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for Alcoa

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Alcoa is:

10% = US$566m ÷ US$5.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 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 $0.10 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

Alcoa's Earnings Growth And 10% ROE

To start with, Alcoa's ROE looks acceptable. Even so, when compared with the average industry ROE of 15%, we aren't very excited. On further research, we found that Alcoa's net income growth of 4.1% over the past five years is quite low. Not to forget, the company does have a decent ROE to begin with, just that it is lower than the industry average. So there might be other reasons for the earnings growth to be low. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is facing competitive pressures.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Alcoa's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 14% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:AA Past Earnings Growth July 18th 2021

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Alcoa fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Alcoa Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Alcoa has some positive attributes. However, while the company does have a decent ROE and a high profit retention, its earnings growth number is quite disappointing. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering growth. With that said, on studying the latest analyst forecasts, we found that while the company has seen growth in its past earnings, analysts expect its future earnings to shrink. 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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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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