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Do Its Financials Have Any Role To Play In Driving Watsco, Inc.'s (NYSE:WSO) Stock Up Recently?

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

Watsco's (NYSE:WSO) stock is up by a considerable 32% 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. Specifically, we decided to study Watsco's ROE in this article.

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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Watsco

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 Watsco is:

16% = US$285m ÷ US$1.7b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.16 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. 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.

Watsco's Earnings Growth And 16% ROE

At first glance, Watsco seems to have a decent ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 9.5% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. This certainly adds some context to Watsco's decent 9.0% net income growth seen over the past five years.

As a next step, we compared Watsco's net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company's growth is lower than the industry average growth of 16% 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. If you're wondering about Watsco's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Watsco Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Watsco has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 86%, meaning that it is left with only 14% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Moreover, Watsco is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 112% over the next three years. However, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much despite the higher expected payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Watsco certainly does have some positive factors to consider. The company has grown its earnings moderately as previously discussed. Still, the high ROE could have been even more beneficial to investors had the company been reinvesting more of its profits. As highlighted earlier, the current reinvestment rate appears to be quite low. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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.