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Is Cerence Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CRNC) Recent Price Movement Underpinned By Its Weak Fundamentals?

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With its stock down 9.8% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Cerence (NASDAQ:CRNC). We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Long-term fundamentals are usually what drive market outcomes, so it's worth paying close attention. In this article, we decided to focus on Cerence's ROE.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Cerence

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity 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 Cerence is:

4.3% = US$44m ÷ US$1.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2021).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.04 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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.

Cerence's Earnings Growth And 4.3% ROE

On the face of it, Cerence's ROE is not much to talk about. 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%. For this reason, Cerence's five year net income decline of 3.7% is not surprising given its lower ROE. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

That being said, we compared Cerence'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 23% 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. Is CRNC fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Cerence Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Cerence doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that potentially all of its profits are being reinvested in the business, which doesn't explain why the company's earnings have shrunk if it is retaining all of its profits. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Cerence's performance. Even though it appears to be retaining most of its profits, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. The low earnings growth suggests our theory correct. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. 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.