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Has Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.'s (NYSE:RGR) Impressive Stock Performance Got Anything to Do With Its Fundamentals?

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Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 7.1% over the last week. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company's financial performance in the long-term, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely to see if they had a hand to play in the recent price move. In this article, we decided to focus on Sturm Ruger's ROE.

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 Sturm Ruger

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 Sturm Ruger is:

28% = US$67m ÷ US$241m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.28 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.

Sturm Ruger's Earnings Growth And 28% ROE

First thing first, we like that Sturm Ruger has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 17% which is quite remarkable. For this reason, Sturm Ruger's five year net income decline of 10% raises the question as to why the high ROE didn't translate into earnings growth. We reckon that there could be some other factors at play here that are preventing the company's growth. For example, it could be that the company has a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

However, when we compared Sturm Ruger's growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 8.6% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is RGR fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Sturm Ruger Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Looking at its three-year median payout ratio of 39% (or a retention ratio of 61%) which is pretty normal, Sturm Ruger's declining earnings is rather baffling as one would expect to see a fair bit of growth when a company is retaining a good portion of its profits. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Moreover, Sturm Ruger has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth.

Summary

In total, it does look like Sturm Ruger has some positive aspects to its business. However, given the high ROE and high profit retention, we would expect the company to be delivering strong earnings growth, but that isn't the case here. This suggests that there might be some external threat to the business, that's hampering its growth. 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 3 risks we have identified for Sturm Ruger 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.