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Is Stewart Information Services Corporation's(NYSE:STC) Recent Stock Performance Tethered To Its Strong Fundamentals?

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Stewart Information Services' (NYSE:STC) stock is up by a considerable 14% over the past three months. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. Specifically, we decided to study Stewart Information Services' 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

See our latest analysis for Stewart Information Services

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity 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 Stewart Information Services is:

11% = US$108m ÷ US$951m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.11 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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.

Stewart Information Services' Earnings Growth And 11% ROE

At first glance, Stewart Information Services seems to have a decent ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 8.4% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. This probably laid the ground for Stewart Information Services' significant 37% net income growth seen over the past five years. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Stewart Information Services' growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 6.6% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Stewart Information Services''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Stewart Information Services Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Stewart Information Services has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 56%, meaning the company only retains 44% of its income. This implies that the company has been able to achieve high earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Additionally, Stewart Information Services has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 26% over the next three years.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that Stewart Information Services' performance has been quite good. We are particularly impressed by the considerable earnings growth posted by the company, which was likely backed by its high ROE. While the company is paying out most of its earnings as dividends, it has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's probably a good sign. Having said that, the company's earnings growth is expected to slow down, as forecasted in the current analyst estimates. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.