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Are Alleghany Corporation's (NYSE:Y) Mixed Financials Driving The Negative Sentiment?

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With its stock down 7.0% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Alleghany (NYSE:Y). It is possible that the markets have ignored the company's differing financials and decided to lean-in to the negative sentiment. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. In this article, we decided to focus on Alleghany's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Alleghany

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Alleghany is:

8.1% = US$726m ÷ US$8.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.08 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Alleghany's Earnings Growth And 8.1% ROE

When you first look at it, Alleghany's ROE doesn't look that attractive. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 12%. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 15% seen by Alleghany was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.

However, when we compared Alleghany's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 11% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Is Alleghany fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Alleghany Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Summary

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Alleghany's performance. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. Wrapping up, we would proceed with caution with this company and one way of doing that would be to look at the risk profile of the business. To know the 2 risks we have identified for Alleghany visit our risks dashboard for free.

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.

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