U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 39 mins
  • S&P Futures

    4,533.25
    -42.50 (-0.93%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    34,559.00
    -63.00 (-0.18%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    15,687.50
    -301.00 (-1.88%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,156.20
    -49.00 (-2.22%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    66.22
    -0.28 (-0.42%)
     
  • Gold

    1,782.10
    +21.40 (+1.22%)
     
  • Silver

    22.57
    +0.25 (+1.12%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1317
    +0.0012 (+0.1019%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.3430
    -0.1050 (-7.25%)
     
  • Vix

    30.67
    +2.72 (+9.73%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3235
    -0.0067 (-0.5029%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    112.8000
    -0.4090 (-0.3613%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    51,366.95
    +3,621.05 (+7.58%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,367.14
    -74.62 (-5.18%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,122.32
    -6.89 (-0.10%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,029.57
    +276.20 (+1.00%)
     

Canadian National Railway Company's (TSE:CNR) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Most readers would already be aware that Canadian National Railway's (TSE:CNR) stock increased significantly by 18% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on Canadian National Railway's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Canadian National Railway

How Do You 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 Canadian National Railway is:

20% = CA$4.0b ÷ CA$20b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each CA$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made CA$0.20 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. 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.

Canadian National Railway's Earnings Growth And 20% ROE

To begin with, Canadian National Railway seems to have a respectable ROE. Even when compared to the industry average of 20% the company's ROE looks quite decent. Given the circumstances, we can't help but wonder why Canadian National Railway saw little to no growth in the past five years. So, there could be some other aspects that could potentially be preventing the company from growing. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

As a next step, we compared Canadian National Railway's net income growth with the industry and discovered that the industry saw an average growth of 11% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. If you're wondering about Canadian National Railway's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Canadian National Railway Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Despite having a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 35% (meaning the company retains65% of profits) in the last three-year period, Canadian National Railway's earnings growth was more or les flat. Therefore, there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.

Moreover, Canadian National Railway 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 37% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Canadian National Railway's future ROE will rise to 28% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Canadian National Railway has some positive attributes. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. 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.

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.