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Has General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) Improved Earnings Growth In Recent Times?

Simply Wall St

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Understanding how General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) is performing as a company requires looking at more than just a years' earnings. Today I will run you through a basic sense check to gain perspective on how General Dynamics is doing by comparing its latest earnings with its long-term trend as well as the performance of its aerospace & defense industry peers.

View our latest analysis for General Dynamics

How Did GD's Recent Performance Stack Up Against Its Past?

GD's trailing twelve-month earnings (from 31 March 2019) of US$3.3b has jumped 12% compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, this one-year growth rate has exceeded its 5-year annual growth average of 3.9%, indicating the rate at which GD is growing has accelerated. What's enabled this growth? Well, let’s take a look at if it is solely attributable to industry tailwinds, or if General Dynamics has experienced some company-specific growth.

NYSE:GD Income Statement, May 1st 2019

In terms of returns from investment, General Dynamics has invested its equity funds well leading to a 27% return on equity (ROE), above the sensible minimum of 20%. Furthermore, its return on assets (ROA) of 7.9% exceeds the US Aerospace & Defense industry of 7.1%, indicating General Dynamics has used its assets more efficiently. However, its return on capital (ROC), which also accounts for General Dynamics’s debt level, has declined over the past 3 years from 21% to 14%. This correlates with an increase in debt holding, with debt-to-equity ratio rising from 29% to 122% over the past 5 years.

What does this mean?

Though General Dynamics's past data is helpful, it is only one aspect of my investment thesis. While General Dynamics has a good historical track record with positive growth and profitability, there's no certainty that this will extrapolate into the future. I recommend you continue to research General Dynamics to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for GD’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for GD’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are GD’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the trailing twelve months from 31 March 2019. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.