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Declining Stock and Decent Financials: Is The Market Wrong About Public Storage (NYSE:PSA)?

·4-min read

Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) has had a rough three months with its share price down 17%. However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. In this article, we decided to focus on Public Storage's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for Public Storage

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 Public Storage is:

21% = US$2.0b ÷ US$9.8b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.21 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 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 Public Storage's Earnings Growth And 21% ROE

To start with, Public Storage's ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 6.5%. Despite this, Public Storage's five year net income growth was quite low averaging at only 4.1%. That's a bit unexpected from a company which has such a high rate of return. Such a scenario is likely to take place when a company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

We then compared Public Storage's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 11% in the same period, which is a bit concerning.

past-earnings-growth
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. This then helps them determine if the stock is placed for a bright or bleak future. What is PSA worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether PSA is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Public Storage Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Public Storage has a very high three-year median payout ratio of87%, implying that it retains only 13% of its profits. However, it's not unusual to see a REIT with such a high payout ratio mainly due to statutory requirements. So this probably explains the low earnings growth seen by the company.

In addition, Public Storage 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 46% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected drop in the payout ratio explains the expected increase in the company's ROE to 30%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we feel that Public Storage 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. Investors could have benefitted from the high ROE, had the company been reinvesting more of its earnings. As discussed earlier, the company is retaining a small portion of its profits. That being so, the latest analyst forecasts show that the company will continue to see an expansion in its earnings. 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.

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