American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) has had a rough month with its share price down 11%. But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Particularly, we will be paying attention to American Eagle Outfitters’ ROE today.
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.
How Is ROE Calculated?
The formula for ROE is:
Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity
So, based on the above formula, the ROE for American Eagle Outfitters is:
27% = US$373m ÷ US$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2021).
The ‘return’ is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders’ equity, the company generated $0.27 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. 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. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.
American Eagle Outfitters’ Earnings Growth And 27% ROE
Firstly, we acknowledge that American Eagle Outfitters has a significantly high ROE. Additionally, a comparison with the average industry ROE of 31% also portrays the company’s ROE in a good light. Needless to say, we are quite surprised to see that American Eagle Outfitters’ net income shrunk at a rate of 16% over the past five years in spite of its decent. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven’t been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company’s growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.
So, as a next step, we compared American Eagle Outfitters’ performance against the industry and were disappointed to discover that while the company has been shrinking its earnings, the industry has been growing its earnings at a rate of 18% in the same period.
Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. Is American Eagle Outfitters fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
Is American Eagle Outfitters Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?
American Eagle Outfitters’ low three-year median payout ratio of 22% (or a retention ratio of 78%) over the last three years should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings to fuel its growth but the company’s earnings have actually shrunk. The low payout should mean that the company is retaining most of its earnings and consequently, should see some growth. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.
In addition, American Eagle Outfitters has been paying dividends over a period of at least ten years suggesting that keeping up dividend payments is way more important to the management even if it comes at the cost of business growth. Based on the latest analysts’ estimates, we found that the company’s future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 24%. However, American Eagle Outfitters’ ROE is predicted to rise to 34% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.
Overall, we feel that American Eagle Outfitters certainly does have some positive factors to consider. Yet, the low earnings growth is a bit concerning, especially given that the company has a high rate of return and is reinvesting ma huge portion of its profits. By the looks of it, there could be some other factors, not necessarily in control of the business, that’s preventing growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company’s fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst’s forecasts page for the company.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.