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If you have to isolate profit-churners from profit-burners, return on equity will come across to you as one of the most appropriate metrics. It is a profitability ratio that measures the earnings that a company generates from its equity.

But ROE doesn’t tell the complete story and an investor might get fooled by picking stocks based on this number. If you closely look at the components of ROE, you will be surprised to see that it can be high for the wrong reasons as well. Here comes the DuPont technique which helps investors to analyze basic ROE at an advanced level. Here is how DuPont breaks down ROE into its different components:

ROE = Net Income/Equity

Net Income / Equity = (Net Income / Sales) * (Sales / Assets) * (Assets / Equity)

ROE = Profit Margin * Asset Turnover Ratio * Equity Multiplier

Why Use DuPont?

The DuPont analysis allows investors to assess the elements that play a dominant role in any change in ROE. It can help investors to segregate companies having higher margins from those having a high turnover. For example, high-end fashion brands generally survive on high margin as compared with retail goods, which rely on higher turnover.

In fact, it also sheds light on the company’s leverage status, which can go a long way in selecting stocks poised for gains. A lofty ROE could be due to the overuse of debt. Thus, the strength of a company can be misleading if it has a high debt load.

So, an investor confined solely to an ROE perspective may be confused if he or she has to judge between two stocks of equal ratio. This is where DuPont analysis wins over and spots the better stock.

Investors can simply do this analysis by taking a look at the company’s financials.However, looking at financial statements of each company separately can be a tedious task. Screening tools like Zacks Research Wizard can come to your rescue and help you shortlist the stocks that look impressive with a DuPont analysis.

Screening Parameters

Profit Margin more than or equal to 3: As the name suggests, it is a measure of how profitably the business is running. Generally, it is the key contributor to ROE.

Asset Turnover Ratio more than or equal to 2: It allows an investor to assess management’s efficiency in using assets to drive sales.

Equity Multiplier between 1 and 3: It’s an indication of how much debt the company uses to finance its assets.

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Stocks having a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) generally perform better than their peers in all types of market environment.

Current Price more than $5: This screens out the low priced stocks. However, when looking for lower priced stocks, this criterion can be removed.

Here are five of the 12 stocks that made it through the screen:

Medifast Inc MED: The company is a leading manufacturer and distributor of clinically proven healthy living products and programs. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Landstar System Inc. LSTR: The company is an asset-light provider of integrated transportation management solutions worldwide. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1.

PetMed Express Inc. PETS: This Zacks Rank #2 company is America's largest pet pharmacy.

Robert Half International Inc. RHI: The company is the world's largest specialized staffing firm. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Comfort Systems USA Inc. FIX: This is a national provider of comprehensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning installation, maintenance, repair and replacement services. It has a Zacks Rank #1.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today.

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.

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Landstar System, Inc. (LSTR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PetMed Express, Inc. (PETS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (FIX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MEDIFAST INC (MED) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Robert Half International Inc. (RHI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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