The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.'s (NYSE:HIG) Stock Has Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Strong: Is The Market Wrong?

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It is hard to get excited after looking at Hartford Financial Services Group’s (NYSE:HIG) recent performance, when its stock has declined 5.0% over the past month. However, stock prices are usually driven by a company’s financial performance over the long term, which in this case looks quite promising. Specifically, we decided to study Hartford Financial Services Group’s 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 other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company’s shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Hartford Financial Services Group

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Hartford Financial Services Group is:

15% = US$2.1b ÷ US$14b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder’s investments, the company generates a profit of $0.15.

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. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or “retains” for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

Hartford Financial Services Group’s Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To start with, Hartford Financial Services Group’s ROE looks acceptable. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 12% the company’s ROE looks pretty remarkable. This probably laid the ground for Hartford Financial Services Group’s significant 34% net income growth seen over the past five years. We believe that there might also be other aspects that are positively influencing the company’s earnings growth. For example, it is possible that the company’s management has made some good strategic decisions, or that the company has a low payout ratio.

We then compared Hartford Financial Services Group’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 14% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. 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. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Hartford Financial Services Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Hartford Financial Services Group Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

The three-year median payout ratio for Hartford Financial Services Group is 25%, which is moderately low. The company is retaining the remaining 75%. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the high growth we discussed above, it looks like Hartford Financial Services Group is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.

Besides, Hartford Financial Services Group 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’s future payout ratio is expected to drop to 20% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the lower expected payout ratio.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that Hartford Financial Services Group’s performance has been quite good. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts 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.

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