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Selective Insurance Group, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:SIGI) Stock On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Momentum?

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Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 12% over the last three months. 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. Specifically, we decided to study Selective Insurance Group'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. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Selective Insurance Group

How Do You 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 Selective Insurance Group is:

9.0% = US$246m ÷ US$2.7b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.09.

Why Is ROE Important For 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.

Selective Insurance Group's Earnings Growth And 9.0% ROE

At first glance, Selective Insurance Group's ROE doesn't look very promising. Yet, a closer study shows that the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 9.0%. Having said that, Selective Insurance Group has shown a modest net income growth of 8.6% over the past five years. Taking into consideration that the ROE is not particularly high, we reckon that there could also be other factors at play which could be influencing the company's growth. 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.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Selective Insurance Group's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 5.4% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. Has the market priced in the future outlook for SIGI? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Selective Insurance Group Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

In Selective Insurance Group's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 23% (or a retention ratio of 77%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Moreover, Selective Insurance Group is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 21%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 9.7%.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Selective Insurance Group has some positive attributes. 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. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down. 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.

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