It is hard to get excited after looking at National Instruments' (NASDAQ:NATI) recent performance, when its stock has declined 13% over the past three months. To decide if this trend could continue, we decided to look at its weak fundamentals as they shape the long-term market trends. Particularly, we will be paying attention to National Instruments' 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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.
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 National Instruments is:
7.3% = US$89m ÷ US$1.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.07 in profit.
Why Is ROE Important For 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. 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.
National Instruments' Earnings Growth And 7.3% ROE
When you first look at it, National Instruments' ROE doesn't look that attractive. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 14%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. Accordingly, National Instruments' low net income growth of 4.9% over the past five years can possibly be explained by the low ROE amongst other factors.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that National Instruments' reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 16% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for NATI? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is National Instruments Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
National Instruments has a three-year median payout ratio of 81% (implying that it keeps only 19% of its profits), meaning that it pays out most of its profits to shareholders as dividends, and as a result, the company has seen low earnings growth.
Moreover, National Instruments has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 51% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in National Instruments' payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 28%, over the same period.
On the whole, National Instruments' performance is quite a big let-down. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.