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Abbott Laboratories' (NYSE:ABT) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

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Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) has had a rough month with its share price down 7.8%. 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 Abbott Laboratories' ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Abbott Laboratories

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 Abbott Laboratories is:

19% = US$6.4b ÷ US$34b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.19 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

Abbott Laboratories' Earnings Growth And 19% ROE

To begin with, Abbott Laboratories seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 10% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This certainly adds some context to Abbott Laboratories' exceptional 37% net income growth seen over the past five years. We believe that there might also be other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

We then compared Abbott Laboratories' 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 14% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. What is ABT worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ABT is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Abbott Laboratories Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Abbott Laboratories' significant three-year median payout ratio of 76% (where it is retaining only 24% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Besides, Abbott Laboratories has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 35% over the next three years. As a result, the expected drop in Abbott Laboratories' payout ratio explains the anticipated rise in the company's future ROE to 24%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we are quite pleased with Abbott Laboratories' performance. In particular, its high ROE is quite noteworthy and also the probable explanation behind its considerable earnings growth. Yet, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Which means that the company has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's not too bad. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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