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Most readers would already be aware that ITT's (NYSE:ITT) stock increased significantly by 12% over the past three months. But the company's key financial indicators appear to be differing across the board and that makes us question whether or not the company's current share price momentum can be maintained. Specifically, we decided to study ITT'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. 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 ITT is:
3.3% = US$70m ÷ US$2.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.03 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.
ITT's Earnings Growth And 3.3% ROE
As you can see, ITT's ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 11%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Hence, the flat earnings seen by ITT over the past five years could probably be the result of it having a lower ROE.
Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that ITT's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 7.9% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is ITT worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ITT is currently mispriced by the market.
Is ITT Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?
ITT's low three-year median payout ratio of 18% (implying that the company keeps82% of its income) should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth and this should be reflected in its growth number, but that's not the case.
In addition, ITT has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. 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 18%. Still, forecasts suggest that ITT's future ROE will rise to 16% even though the the company's payout ratio is not expected to change by much.
In total, we're a bit ambivalent about ITT's performance. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings growth. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.
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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