It is hard to get excited after looking at Marten Transport's (NASDAQ:MRTN) recent performance, when its stock has declined 9.0% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Marten Transport's ROE today.
Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
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 Marten Transport is:
11% = US$70m ÷ US$620m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.11 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.
Marten Transport's Earnings Growth And 11% ROE
At first glance, Marten Transport seems to have a decent ROE. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 14%. This probably goes some way in explaining Marten Transport's moderate 13% growth over the past five years amongst other factors.
We then compared Marten Transport's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 5.8% in the same period.
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. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Marten Transport is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Marten Transport Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
In Marten Transport's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 10% (or a retention ratio of 90%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.
Besides, Marten Transport has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders.
On the whole, we feel that Marten Transport's performance has been quite good. 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 sizeable growth in its earnings. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current growth rate. 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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