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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. So on that note, Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) looks quite promising in regards to its trends of return on capital.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Quest Diagnostics:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.17 = US$2.1b ÷ (US$14b - US$1.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
Therefore, Quest Diagnostics has an ROCE of 17%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Healthcare industry average of 11% it's much better.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Quest Diagnostics compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
What Can We Tell From Quest Diagnostics' ROCE Trend?
Investors would be pleased with what's happening at Quest Diagnostics. Over the last five years, returns on capital employed have risen substantially to 17%. The company is effectively making more money per dollar of capital used, and it's worth noting that the amount of capital has increased too, by 39%. The increasing returns on a growing amount of capital is common amongst multi-baggers and that's why we're impressed.
A company that is growing its returns on capital and can consistently reinvest in itself is a highly sought after trait, and that's what Quest Diagnostics has. And with a respectable 91% awarded to those who held the stock over the last five years, you could argue that these developments are starting to get the attention they deserve. Therefore, we think it would be worth your time to check if these trends are going to continue.
Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Quest Diagnostics (of which 1 is concerning!) that you should know about.
While Quest Diagnostics isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.
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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