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Forward Air's (NASDAQ:FWRD) stock is up by a considerable 22% over the past month. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Forward Air'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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Forward Air is:
9.6% = US$53m ÷ US$547m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.10 in profit.
What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?
Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.
Forward Air's Earnings Growth And 9.6% ROE
When you first look at it, Forward Air's ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 9.6%, we may spare it some thought. Having said that, Forward Air has shown a modest net income growth of 10% over the past five years. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.
Next, on comparing Forward Air's net income growth with the industry, we found that the company's reported growth is similar to the industry average growth rate of 10% in the same period.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Forward Air fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is Forward Air Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Forward Air's three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 22% (implying that it retains 78% of its income), which is on the lower side, so it seems like the management is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business.
Additionally, Forward Air 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.
In total, it does look like Forward Air has some positive aspects to its business. Despite its low rate of return, the fact that the company reinvests a very high portion of its profits into its business, no doubt contributed to its high earnings growth. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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.
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