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The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE) On An Uptrend: Could Fundamentals Be Driving The Stock?

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St. Joe's (NYSE:JOE) stock up by 4.1% over the past week. As most would know, long-term fundamentals have a strong correlation with market price movements, 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 St. Joe's ROE in this article.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for St. Joe

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for St. Joe is:

8.8% = US$50m ÷ US$568m (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.09 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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.

St. Joe's Earnings Growth And 8.8% ROE

On the face of it, St. Joe's ROE is not much to talk about. However, given that the company's ROE is similar to the average industry ROE of 7.9%, we may spare it some thought. Having said that, St. Joe has shown a modest net income growth of 14% over the past five years. Considering the moderately low ROE, it is quite possible that there might be some other aspects that are positively influencing the company's earnings growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that St. Joe's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 11% 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. 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. 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 St. Joe is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is St. Joe Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In St. Joe's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 13% (or a retention ratio of 87%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Summary

In total, it does look like St. Joe has some positive aspects to its business. 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. While we won't completely dismiss the company, what we would do, is try to ascertain how risky the business is to make a more informed decision around the company. To know the 2 risks we have identified for St. Joe visit our risks dashboard for free.

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.