Could The Market Be Wrong About Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE:STC) Given Its Attractive Financial Prospects?
It is hard to get excited after looking at Stewart Information Services' (NYSE:STC) recent performance, when its stock has declined 2.4% over the past month. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Stewart Information Services' ROE in this article.
Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.
View our latest analysis for Stewart Information Services
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Stewart Information Services is:
19% = US$254m ÷ US$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.19.
Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.
A Side By Side comparison of Stewart Information Services' Earnings Growth And 19% ROE
At first glance, Stewart Information Services seems to have a decent ROE. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 13%. This probably laid the ground for Stewart Information Services' significant 44% net income growth seen over the past five years. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Stewart Information Services' growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 13% in the same period, which is great to see.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 Stewart Information Services is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Stewart Information Services Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Stewart Information Services' three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 18%, which is quite low. This implies that the company is retaining 82% of its profits. So it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business and this reflects in its earnings growth number.
Besides, Stewart Information Services has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 34% over the next three years. Therefore, the expected rise in the payout ratio explains why the company's ROE is expected to decline to 10% over the same period.
On the whole, we feel that Stewart Information Services' performance has been quite good. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see substantial growth in its earnings. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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. 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.
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