This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.
With an ROE of 32.7%, Weibo Corporation (NASDAQ:WB) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 11.6% over the past year. While the impressive ratio tells us that WB has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if WB has borrowed debt to make this happen. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether WB’s ROE is actually sustainable.
Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability
Return on Equity (ROE) is a measure of Weibo’s profit relative to its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.
Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity
ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Weibo, which is 11.8%. Since Weibo’s return covers its cost in excess of 21.0%, its use of equity capital is efficient and likely to be sustainable. Simply put, Weibo pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be broken down into three different ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:
ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage
ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)
ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity
The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Weibo can make from its asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt Weibo currently has. At 61.5%, Weibo’s debt-to-equity ratio appears sensible and indicates the above-average ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.
ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. Weibo exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, as well as sufficient returns to cover its cost of equity. Its high ROE is not likely to be driven by high debt. Therefore, investors may have more confidence in the sustainability of this level of returns going forward. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.
For Weibo, I’ve compiled three key aspects you should look at:
- Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
- Valuation: What is Weibo worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether Weibo is currently mispriced by the market.
- Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Weibo? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.