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It is hard to get excited after looking at Markel's (NYSE:MKL) recent performance, when its stock has declined 15% over the past three months. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Markel's ROE today.
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 short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
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 Markel is:
12% = US$1.8b ÷ US$15b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made $0.12 in profit.
What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?
We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. 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 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.
Markel's Earnings Growth And 12% ROE
To begin with, Markel seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 12%. This certainly adds some context to Markel's exceptional 44% 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.
As a next step, we compared Markel's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 14%.
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. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Has the market priced in the future outlook for MKL? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.
Is Markel Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
Markel doesn't pay any dividend currently which essentially means that it has been reinvesting all of its profits into the business. This definitely contributes to the high earnings growth number that we discussed above.
In total, we are pretty happy with Markel's performance. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see substantial growth in its earnings. Having said that, on studying current analyst estimates, we were concerned to see that while the company has grown its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to shrink in the future. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.