U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,768.25
    -27.29 (-0.72%)
     
  • Dow 30

    30,814.26
    -177.24 (-0.57%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,998.50
    -114.10 (-0.87%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,123.20
    -32.15 (-1.49%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    52.21
    -0.15 (-0.29%)
     
  • Gold

    1,820.20
    -9.70 (-0.53%)
     
  • Silver

    24.67
    -0.19 (-0.77%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.2077
    -0.0007 (-0.06%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.0970
    -0.0320 (-2.83%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3578
    -0.0006 (-0.04%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    103.8020
    +0.0020 (+0.00%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    35,974.20
    +19.14 (+0.05%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    701.33
    -33.82 (-4.60%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,735.71
    -66.25 (-0.97%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,304.16
    -215.02 (-0.75%)
     

Is US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) Likely To Turn Things Around?

Simply Wall St
·3 min read

If we want to find a stock that could multiply over the long term, what are the underlying trends we should look for? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for US Ecology:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.036 = US$65m ÷ (US$2.0b - US$151m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

So, US Ecology has an ROCE of 3.6%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Commercial Services industry average of 9.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for US Ecology

roce
roce

In the above chart we have a measured US Ecology's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering US Ecology here for free.

What Can We Tell From US Ecology's ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at US Ecology doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 3.6% from 11% five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

The Key Takeaway

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for US Ecology. These growth trends haven't led to growth returns though, since the stock has fallen 22% over the last five years. So we think it'd be worthwhile to look further into this stock given the trends look encouraging.

Since virtually every company faces some risks, it's worth knowing what they are, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for US Ecology (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should know about.

While US Ecology isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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@simplywallst.com.