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Do Its Financials Have Any Role To Play In Driving Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.'s (NYSE:RS) Stock Up Recently?

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Most readers would already be aware that Reliance Steel & Aluminum's (NYSE:RS) stock increased significantly by 24% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Reliance Steel & Aluminum's ROE.

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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Reliance Steel & Aluminum

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Reliance Steel & Aluminum is:

7.3% = US$372m ÷ US$5.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.07 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. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. 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 Reliance Steel & Aluminum's Earnings Growth And 7.3% ROE

On the face of it, Reliance Steel & Aluminum's ROE is not much to talk about. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 13%. Reliance Steel & Aluminum was still able to see a decent net income growth of 11% over the past five years. So, the growth in the company's earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Reliance Steel & Aluminum's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 20% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

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). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. What is RS worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether RS is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Reliance Steel & Aluminum Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Reliance Steel & Aluminum has a low three-year median payout ratio of 23%, meaning that the company retains the remaining 77% of its profits. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business.

Besides, Reliance Steel & Aluminum has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its 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 26%. Regardless, the future ROE for Reliance Steel & Aluminum is predicted to rise to 10% despite there being not much change expected in its payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Reliance Steel & Aluminum has some positive attributes. Specifically, its fairly high earnings growth number, which no doubt was backed by the company's high earnings retention. Still, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping a lot of benefit to the investors. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.