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Is Weakness In Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST) Stock A Sign That The Market Could be Wrong Given Its Strong Financial Prospects?

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Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) has had a rough three months with its share price down 2.8%. But if you pay close attention, you might gather that its strong financials could mean that the stock could potentially see an increase in value in the long-term, given how markets usually reward companies with good financial health. Specifically, we decided to study Northern Star Resources' ROE in this article.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Northern Star Resources

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE 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 Northern Star Resources is:

15% = AU$316m ÷ AU$2.1b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each A$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made A$0.15 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Northern Star Resources' Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To start with, Northern Star Resources' ROE looks acceptable. And on comparing with the industry, we found that the the average industry ROE is similar at 15%. This certainly adds some context to Northern Star Resources' moderate 11% net income growth seen over the past five years.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Northern Star Resources' reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 29% in the same period, which is not something we like to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. 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. If you're wondering about Northern Star Resources''s valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Northern Star Resources Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Northern Star Resources has a healthy combination of a moderate three-year median payout ratio of 45% (or a retention ratio of 55%) and a respectable amount of growth in earnings as we saw above, meaning that the company has been making efficient use of its profits.

Moreover, Northern Star Resources is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of nine years of paying a dividend. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 31% over the next three years. However, Northern Star Resources' future ROE is expected to decline to 11% despite the expected decline in its payout ratio. We infer that there could be other factors that could be steering the foreseen decline in the company's ROE.

Summary

Overall, we are quite pleased with Northern Star Resources' performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. As a result, the decent growth in its earnings is not surprising. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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.

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