Watsco, Inc.'s (NYSE:WSO) Has Had A Decent Run On The Stock market: Are Fundamentals In The Driver's Seat?

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Watsco’s (NYSE:WSO) stock up by 5.6% over the past three months. Given that stock prices are usually aligned with a company’s financial performance in the long-term, we decided to investigate if the company’s decent financials had a hand to play in the recent price move. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Watsco’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 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 Watsco

How Is ROE Calculated?

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 Watsco is:

28% = US$642m ÷ US$2.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. One way to conceptualize this is that for each $1 of shareholders’ capital it has, the company made $0.28 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Watsco’s Earnings Growth And 28% ROE

To begin with, Watsco has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 22% also doesn’t go unnoticed by us. Probably as a result of this, Watsco was able to see a decent net income growth of 19% over the last five years.

As a next step, we compared Watsco’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 16%.

past-earnings-growthpast-earnings-growth

past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is WSO worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether WSO is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Watsco Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Watsco has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 92%, meaning that it is left with only 7.6% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Additionally, Watsco has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 80%. Therefore, the company’s future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 22%.

Summary

In total, it does look like Watsco has some positive aspects to its business. Specifically, its high ROE which likely led to the growth in earnings. Bear in mind, the company reinvests little to none of its profits, which means that investors aren’t necessarily reaping the full benefits of the high rate of return. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company’s earnings are expected to shrink in the future. 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.

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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