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Encompass Health's (NYSE:EHC) Returns Have Hit A Wall

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There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So, when we ran our eye over Encompass Health's (NYSE:EHC) trend of ROCE, we liked what we saw.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for Encompass Health, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.12 = US$673m ÷ (US$6.5b - US$812m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

So, Encompass Health has an ROCE of 12%. By itself that's a normal return on capital and it's in line with the industry's average returns of 12%.

View our latest analysis for Encompass Health

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Encompass Health compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

So How Is Encompass Health's ROCE Trending?

While the returns on capital are good, they haven't moved much. The company has employed 38% more capital in the last five years, and the returns on that capital have remained stable at 12%. 12% is a pretty standard return, and it provides some comfort knowing that Encompass Health has consistently earned this amount. Over long periods of time, returns like these might not be too exciting, but with consistency they can pay off in terms of share price returns.

The Bottom Line On Encompass Health's ROCE

To sum it up, Encompass Health has simply been reinvesting capital steadily, at those decent rates of return. And long term investors would be thrilled with the 102% return they've received over the last five years. So even though the stock might be more "expensive" than it was before, we think the strong fundamentals warrant this stock for further research.

Like most companies, Encompass Health does come with some risks, and we've found 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

While Encompass Health may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

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.