Juniper Networks' (NYSE:JNPR) stock up by 2.7% over the past month. Given that the markets usually pay for the long-term financial health of a company, we wonder if the current momentum in the share price will keep up, given that the company's financials don't look very promising. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Juniper Networks' ROE today.
Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.
How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?
Return on equity 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 Juniper Networks is:
5.7% = US$258m ÷ US$4.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2020).
The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.06 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. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. 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 Juniper Networks' Earnings Growth And 5.7% ROE
When you first look at it, Juniper Networks' ROE doesn't look that attractive. We then compared the company's ROE to the broader industry and were disappointed to see that the ROE is lower than the industry average of 12%. Therefore, it might not be wrong to say that the five year net income decline of 15% seen by Juniper Networks was probably the result of it having a lower ROE. We reckon that there could also be other factors at play here. For example, it is possible that the business has allocated capital poorly or that the company has a very high payout ratio.
However, when we compared Juniper Networks' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 2.8% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.
Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is JNPR fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.
Is Juniper Networks Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?
Juniper Networks' declining earnings is not surprising given how the company is spending most of its profits in paying dividends, judging by its three-year median payout ratio of 75% (or a retention ratio of 25%). With only very little left to reinvest into the business, growth in earnings is far from likely. To know the 4 risks we have identified for Juniper Networks visit our risks dashboard for free.
Moreover, Juniper Networks has been paying dividends for seven years, which is a considerable amount of time, suggesting that management must have perceived that the shareholders prefer consistent dividends even though earnings have been shrinking. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 44% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 12% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.
Overall, we would be extremely cautious before making any decision on Juniper Networks. The company has seen a lack of earnings growth as a result of retaining very little profits and whatever little it does retain, is being reinvested at a very low rate of return. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. 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.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.