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Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.'s (NYSE:UVE) Has Performed Well But Fundamentals Look Varied: Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?

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Most readers would already know that Universal Insurance Holdings' (NYSE:UVE) stock increased by 2.5% over the past week. Given that the stock prices usually follow long-term business performance, we wonder if the company's mixed financials could have any adverse effect on its current price price movement Specifically, we decided to study Universal Insurance Holdings' 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 Universal Insurance Holdings

How To 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 Universal Insurance Holdings is:

5.7% = US$28m ÷ US$481m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.06 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.

Universal Insurance Holdings' Earnings Growth And 5.7% ROE

When you first look at it, Universal Insurance Holdings' ROE doesn't look that attractive. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 12%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. For this reason, Universal Insurance Holdings' five year net income decline of 28% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

That being said, we compared Universal Insurance Holdings' performance with the industry and were concerned when we found that while the company has shrunk its earnings, the industry has grown its earnings at a rate of 13% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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. 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 Universal Insurance Holdings is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Universal Insurance Holdings Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Universal Insurance Holdings' low three-year median payout ratio of 24% (implying that it retains the remaining 76% of its profits) comes as a surprise when you pair it with the shrinking earnings. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. So there might be other factors at play here which could potentially be hampering growth. For instance, the business has faced some headwinds.

In addition, Universal Insurance Holdings has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth.

Summary

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Universal Insurance Holdings' performance. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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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