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Are Strong Financial Prospects The Force That Is Driving The Momentum In Barrett Business Services, Inc.'s NASDAQ:BBSI) Stock?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Barrett Business Services (NASDAQ:BBSI) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 16% over the last month. Given that the market rewards strong financials in the long-term, we wonder if that is the case in this instance. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Barrett Business Services' ROE today.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Barrett Business Services

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Barrett Business Services is:

19% = US$38m ÷ US$197m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.19 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For 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. 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.

Barrett Business Services' Earnings Growth And 19% ROE

To begin with, Barrett Business Services seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 13% the company's ROE looks pretty remarkable. Probably as a result of this, Barrett Business Services was able to see an impressive net income growth of 20% over the last five years. However, there could also be other causes behind this growth. For instance, the company has a low payout ratio or is being managed efficiently.

We then compared Barrett Business Services' net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 16% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. 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 Barrett Business Services''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Barrett Business Services Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Barrett Business Services' three-year median payout ratio to shareholders is 20%, which is quite low. This implies that the company is retaining 80% of its profits. So it looks like Barrett Business Services is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business, which shows in its earnings growth.

Moreover, Barrett Business Services 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.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Barrett Business Services' performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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.