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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

Most readers would already know that Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) stock increased by 6.4% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Pfizer's 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 Pfizer

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Pfizer is:

32% = US$30b ÷ US$93b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2022).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.32 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Pfizer's Earnings Growth And 32% ROE

First thing first, we like that Pfizer has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 18% which is quite remarkable. Probably as a result of this, Pfizer was able to see a decent net income growth of 8.6% over the last five years.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Pfizer's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 14% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Pfizer fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Pfizer Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

The high three-year median payout ratio of 73% (or a retention ratio of 27%) for Pfizer suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of its income to its shareholders.

Moreover, Pfizer 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. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 42% over the next three years. However, Pfizer's future ROE is expected to decline to 16% despite the expected decline in its payout ratio. We infer that there could be other factors that could be steering the foreseen decline in the company's ROE.

Summary

In total, it does look like Pfizer has some positive aspects to its business. The company has grown its earnings moderately as previously discussed. Still, the high ROE could have been even more beneficial to investors had the company been reinvesting more of its profits. As highlighted earlier, the current reinvestment rate appears to be quite low. 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.

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

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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