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Could The Market Be Wrong About Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) Given Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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It is hard to get excited after looking at Paychex's (NASDAQ:PAYX) recent performance, when its stock has declined 3.4% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Paychex's ROE today.

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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

View our latest analysis for Paychex

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Paychex is:

37% = US$1.1b ÷ US$2.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.37 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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 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.

Paychex's Earnings Growth And 37% ROE

To begin with, Paychex has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 14% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. This likely paved the way for the modest 9.1% net income growth seen by Paychex over the past five years. growth

As a next step, we compared Paychex's net income growth with the industry and found that the company has a similar growth figure when compared with the industry average growth rate of 11% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 Paychex is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Paychex Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Paychex has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 80%, meaning that it is left with only 20% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Moreover, Paychex 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. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 80%. As a result, Paychex's ROE is not expected to change by much either, which we inferred from the analyst estimate of 41% for future ROE.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Paychex's performance. In particular, its high ROE is quite noteworthy and also the probable explanation behind its considerable earnings growth. Yet, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. Which means that the company has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's not too bad. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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. 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.