Labcorp Holdings Inc.'s (NYSE:LH) Has Performed Well But Fundamentals Look Varied: Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock?

Simply Wall St · 07/01 10:05

Labcorp Holdings' (NYSE:LH) stock is up by 4.4% over the past month. Given that the stock prices usually follow long-term business performance, we wonder if the company's mixed financials could have any adverse effect on its current price price movement Specifically, we decided to study Labcorp Holdings' ROE in this article.

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. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

See our latest analysis for Labcorp Holdings

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

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 Labcorp Holdings is:

5.0% = US$400m ÷ US$8.0b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.05 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. 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. 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Labcorp Holdings' Earnings Growth And 5.0% ROE

At first glance, Labcorp Holdings' ROE doesn't look very promising. 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 11%. Hence, the flat earnings seen by Labcorp Holdings over the past five years could probably be the result of it having a lower ROE.

We then compared Labcorp Holdings' net income growth with the industry and found that the average industry growth rate was 5.6% in the same 5-year period.

past-earnings-growth
NYSE:LH Past Earnings Growth July 1st 2024

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. 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 Labcorp Holdings is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Labcorp Holdings Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

In spite of a normal three-year median payout ratio of 33% (or a retention ratio of 67%), Labcorp Holdings hasn't seen much growth in its earnings. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

In addition, Labcorp Holdings only recently started paying a dividend so the management must have decided the shareholders prefer dividends over earnings growth. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 17% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 16%, over the same period.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Labcorp Holdings can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of profit retention, its low rate of return is probably hampering its earnings 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. 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.