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Cognex Corporation's (NASDAQ:CGNX) Stock Has Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Strong: Is The Market Wrong?

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Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) has had a rough month with its share price down 12%. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Cognex's ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Cognex

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Cognex is:

14% = US$176m ÷ US$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.14.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

Cognex's Earnings Growth And 14% ROE

To begin with, Cognex seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 11% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This certainly adds some context to Cognex's decent 7.7% net income growth seen over the past five years.

We then compared Cognex's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 10% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

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). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is Cognex fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Cognex Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Cognex has a low three-year median payout ratio of 18%, meaning that the company retains the remaining 82% of its profits. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business.

Moreover, Cognex is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 18% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Cognex's future ROE will rise to 17% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that Cognex's performance has been quite good. In particular, it's great to see that the company is investing heavily into its business and along with a high rate of return, that has resulted in a respectable growth in its earnings. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.