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Does Genuine Parts Company's (NYSE:GPC) Weak Fundamentals Mean That The Stock Could Move In The Opposite Direction?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Genuine Parts' (NYSE:GPC) stock is up by 5.6% over the past three months. Given that the markets usually pay for the long-term financial health of a company, we wonder if the current momentum in the share price will keep up, given that the company's financials don't look very promising. Specifically, we decided to study Genuine Parts' ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Genuine Parts

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Genuine Parts is:

5.1% = US$163m ÷ US$3.2b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.05 in profit.

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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Genuine Parts' Earnings Growth And 5.1% ROE

On the face of it, Genuine Parts' ROE is not much to talk about. A quick further study shows that the company's ROE doesn't compare favorably to the industry average of 31% either. For this reason, Genuine Parts' five year net income decline of 16% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

So, as a next step, we compared Genuine Parts' performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 15% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is Genuine Parts fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Genuine Parts Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Genuine Parts has a high three-year median payout ratio of 64% (that is, it is retaining 36% of its profits). This suggests that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This goes some way in explaining why its earnings have been shrinking. With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. You can see the 4 risks we have identified for Genuine Parts by visiting our risks dashboard for free on our platform here.

Moreover, Genuine Parts has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 61% of its profits over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Genuine Parts' future ROE will rise to 27% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.

Summary

Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Genuine Parts. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. Having said that, looking at current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings growth rate is expected to see a huge improvement. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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.

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