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Are Cousins Properties Incorporated's (NYSE:CUZ) Fundamentals Good Enough to Warrant Buying Given The Stock's Recent Weakness?

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With its stock down 5.9% over the past month, it is easy to disregard Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ). But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Cousins Properties' 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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

Check out our latest analysis for Cousins Properties

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 Cousins Properties is:

6.4% = US$292m ÷ US$4.6b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2020).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.06 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Cousins Properties' Earnings Growth And 6.4% ROE

On the face of it, Cousins Properties' ROE is not much to talk about. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 5.5%, we may spare it some thought. Having said that, Cousins Properties has shown a modest net income growth of 16% over the past five years. Given the slightly low ROE, it is likely that there could be some other aspects that are driving this growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then performed a comparison between Cousins Properties' net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 13% 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). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for CUZ? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Cousins Properties Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Cousins Properties has a three-year median payout ratio of 40%, which implies that it retains the remaining 60% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.

Additionally, Cousins Properties has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. 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 44%. However, Cousins Properties' future ROE is expected to decline to 2.5% despite there being not much change anticipated in the company's payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Cousins Properties has some positive attributes. Even in spite of the low rate of return, the company has posted impressive earnings growth as a result of reinvesting heavily into its business. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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@simplywallst.com.