AstroNova, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALOT) Is Going Strong But Fundamentals Appear To Be Mixed : Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?
AstroNova's (NASDAQ:ALOT) stock is up by a considerable 19% over the past three months. But the company's key financial indicators appear to be differing across the board and that makes us question whether or not the company's current share price momentum can be maintained. Specifically, we decided to study AstroNova's ROE in this article.
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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
See our latest analysis for AstroNova
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 AstroNova is:
0.7% = US$540k ÷ US$81m (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2022).
The 'return' is the profit 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 $0.01 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. 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.
AstroNova's Earnings Growth And 0.7% ROE
It is quite clear that AstroNova's ROE is rather low. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 8.1%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 4.9% seen by AstroNova over the last five years is not surprising. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. For example, the business has allocated capital poorly, or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
That being said, we compared AstroNova's 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 18% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. 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 AstroNova is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is AstroNova Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
While the company did payout a portion of its dividend in the past, it currently doesn't pay a dividend. This implies that potentially all of its profits are being reinvested in the business.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about AstroNova. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its 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. You can see the 3 risks we have identified for AstroNova by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.
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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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