Stock Analysis

Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ:CGNX) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financials Look Strong: Should Prospective Shareholders Make The Leap?

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NasdaqGS:CGNX
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Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) has had a rough month with its share price down 8.2%. But if you pay close attention, you might gather that its strong financials could mean that the stock could potentially see an increase in value in the long-term, given how markets usually reward companies with good financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on Cognex's ROE.

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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

Check out our latest analysis for Cognex

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Cognex is:

14% = US$176m ÷ US$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.14 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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.

Cognex's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To begin with, Cognex seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 11%. This probably laid the ground for Cognex's moderate 7.7% net income growth seen over the past five years.

We then compared Cognex's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 10% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
NasdaqGS:CGNX Past Earnings Growth March 13th 2021

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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 Cognex's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Cognex Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Cognex's three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 18% (implying that it retains 82% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.

Moreover, Cognex is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 18%. Still, forecasts suggest that Cognex's future ROE will rise to 17% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Cognex's performance. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a respectable growth in its earnings. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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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