Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG.L) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 19% over the last three months. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Alphabet's ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
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 Alphabet is:
17% = US$36b ÷ US$213b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
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 $0.17 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.
Alphabet's Earnings Growth And 17% ROE
To begin with, Alphabet seems to have a respectable ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 17%. Consequently, this likely laid the ground for the decent growth of 18% seen over the past five years by Alphabet.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Alphabet's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 35% 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). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Has the market priced in the future outlook for GOOG.L? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Alphabet Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
In total, we are pretty happy with Alphabet's performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. As a result, the decent growth in its earnings is not surprising. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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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