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Northwest Pipe's (NASDAQ:NWPX) stock is up by a considerable 10% over the past month. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, 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. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Northwest Pipe's ROE today.
Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How To 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 Northwest Pipe is:
9.8% = US$26m ÷ US$264m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.10 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.
A Side By Side comparison of Northwest Pipe's Earnings Growth And 9.8% ROE
At first glance, Northwest Pipe's ROE doesn't look very promising. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 11%, we may spare it some thought. Looking at Northwest Pipe's exceptional 69% five-year net income growth in particular, we are definitely impressed. Given the slightly low ROE, it is likely that there could be some other aspects that are driving this growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.
As a next step, we compared Northwest Pipe's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 16%.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 Northwest Pipe is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Is Northwest Pipe Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Overall, we feel that Northwest Pipe certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Even in spite of the low rate of return, the company has posted impressive earnings growth as a result of reinvesting heavily into its business. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. 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.
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