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NewMarket (NYSE:NEU) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

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What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after investigating NewMarket (NYSE:NEU), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. The formula for this calculation on NewMarket is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.16 = US$324m ÷ (US$2.4b - US$391m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

So, NewMarket has an ROCE of 16%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Chemicals industry average of 11% it's much better.

See our latest analysis for NewMarket

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Historical performance is a great place to start when researching a stock so above you can see the gauge for NewMarket's ROCE against it's prior returns. If you're interested in investigating NewMarket's past further, check out this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What Does the ROCE Trend For NewMarket Tell Us?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at NewMarket, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 32% over the last five years. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

Our Take On NewMarket's ROCE

While returns have fallen for NewMarket in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. And there could be an opportunity here if other metrics look good too, because the stock has declined 12% in the last five years. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.

NewMarket does have some risks though, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for NewMarket that you might be interested in.

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.