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W. P. Carey Inc.'s (NYSE:WPC) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

·4 min read

Most readers would already be aware that W. P. Carey's (NYSE:WPC) stock increased significantly by 11% over the past three months. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, 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. In this article, we decided to focus on W. P. Carey's ROE.

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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for W. P. Carey

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 W. P. Carey is:

6.5% = US$451m ÷ US$6.9b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2021).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.07 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of W. P. Carey's Earnings Growth And 6.5% ROE

When you first look at it, W. P. Carey's ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, the fact that the company's ROE is higher than the average industry ROE of 5.1%, is definitely interesting. This probably goes some way in explaining W. P. Carey's moderate 14% growth over the past five years amongst other factors. Bear in mind, the company does have a moderately low ROE. It is just that the industry ROE is lower. Therefore, the growth in earnings could also be the result of other factors. For example, it is possible that the broader industry is going through a high growth phase, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

We then compared W. P. Carey's 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 10.0% in the same period.

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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is WPC fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is W. P. Carey Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

W. P. Carey seems to be paying out most of its income as dividends judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 85%, meaning the company retains only 15% of its income. However, this is typical for REITs as they are often required by law to distribute most of their earnings. In spite of this, the company was able to grow its earnings by a fair bit, as we saw above.

Besides, W. P. Carey has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 88% of its profits over the next three years. However, W. P. Carey's ROE is predicted to rise to 13% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that W. P. Carey has some positive attributes. Especially the substantial growth in earnings backed by a decent ROE. Despite the company reinvesting only a small portion of its profits, it still has managed to grow its earnings so that is appreciable. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company's earnings are expected to gain momentum. 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.