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Ark Restaurants Corp.'s (NASDAQ:ARKR) Stock Going Strong But Fundamentals Look Weak: What Implications Could This Have On The Stock?

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Ark Restaurants (NASDAQ:ARKR) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 42% over the last three months. We, however wanted to have a closer look at its key financial indicators as the markets usually pay for long-term fundamentals, and in this case, they don't look very promising. In this article, we decided to focus on Ark Restaurants' ROE.

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Ark Restaurants

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 Ark Restaurants is:

9.5% = US$4.1m ÷ US$43m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2019).

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 $0.10 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learnt that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.

Ark Restaurants' Earnings Growth And 9.5% ROE

At first glance, Ark Restaurants' ROE doesn't look very promising. 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 14%. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 8.7% seen by Ark Restaurants over the last five years is not surprising. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For instance, the company has a very high payout ratio, or is faced with competitive pressures.

That being said, we compared Ark Restaurants' 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 12% in the same period.

NasdaqGM:ARKR Past Earnings Growth June 19th 2020
NasdaqGM:ARKR Past Earnings Growth June 19th 2020

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. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Ark Restaurants''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Ark Restaurants Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Ark Restaurants has a high three-year median payout ratio of 85% (that is, it is retaining 15% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only a little being reinvested into the business, earnings growth would obviously be low or non-existent. You can see the 5 risks we have identified for Ark Restaurants by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Moreover, Ark Restaurants has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth.

Conclusion

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Ark Restaurants. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. Until now, we have only just grazed the surface of the company's past performance by looking at the company's fundamentals. To gain further insights into Ark Restaurants' past profit growth, check out this visualization of past earnings, revenue and cash flows.

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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. Thank you for reading.