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Is Korn Ferry's (NYSE:KFY) Recent Stock Performance Influenced By Its Fundamentals In Any Way?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 52% over the last three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on Korn Ferry's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. 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 Korn Ferry

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Korn Ferry is:

3.7% = US$48m ÷ US$1.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.04 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Korn Ferry's Earnings Growth And 3.7% ROE

As you can see, Korn Ferry's ROE looks pretty weak. Not just that, even compared to the industry average of 13%, the company's ROE is entirely unremarkable. However, the moderate 11% net income growth seen by Korn Ferry over the past five years is definitely a positive. Therefore, the growth in earnings could probably have been caused by other variables. For example, it is possible that the company's management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

We then compared Korn Ferry'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

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Is KFY fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Korn Ferry Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In Korn Ferry's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (or a retention ratio of 78%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Besides, Korn Ferry has been paying dividends over a period of six years. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 12% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 11% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Korn Ferry certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Namely, its respectable earnings growth, which it achieved due to it retaining most of its profits. However, given the low ROE, investors may not be benefitting from all that reinvestment after all. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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 (at) simplywallst.com.