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HNI Corporation (NYSE:HNI) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

Most readers would already know that HNI's (NYSE:HNI) stock increased by 4.9% over the past month. As most would know, long-term fundamentals have a strong correlation with market price movements, 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. Specifically, we decided to study HNI'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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for HNI

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 HNI is:

15% = US$82m ÷ US$553m (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.15 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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.

HNI's Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To begin with, HNI seems to have a respectable ROE. Especially when compared to the industry average of 12% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. Despite this, HNI's five year net income growth was quite flat over the past five years. Therefore, there could be some other aspects that could potentially be preventing the company from growing. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

We then compared HNI's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 16% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if HNI is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is HNI Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

With a high three-year median payout ratio of 56% (implying that the company keeps only 44% of its income) of its business to reinvest into its business), most of HNI's profits are being paid to shareholders, which explains the absence of growth in earnings.

Moreover, HNI has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth.

Conclusion

In total, it does look like HNI has some positive aspects to its business. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE. Bear in mind, the company reinvests a small portion of its profits, which means that investors aren't reaping the benefits of the high rate of return. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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@simplywallst.com.