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Exxon Mobil Corporation's (NYSE:XOM) Stock Has Seen Strong Momentum: Does That Call For Deeper Study Of Its Financial Prospects?

Most readers would already be aware that Exxon Mobil's (NYSE:XOM) stock increased significantly by 15% over the past three months. We wonder if and what role the company's financials play in that price change as a company's long-term fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes. Specifically, we decided to study Exxon Mobil's ROE in this article.

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 Exxon Mobil

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Exxon Mobil is:

28% = US$54b ÷ US$193b (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.28 in profit.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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. 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 Exxon Mobil's Earnings Growth And 28% ROE

To begin with, Exxon Mobil has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Further, even comparing with the industry average if 32%, the company's ROE is quite respectable. Given the circumstances, we can't help but wonder why Exxon Mobil saw little to no growth in the past five years. Based on this, we feel that there might be other reasons which haven't been discussed so far in this article that could be hampering the company's growth. Such as, the company pays out a huge portion of its earnings as dividends, or is faced with competitive pressures.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that the industry grew its earnings by 6.8% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

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). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is XOM fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Exxon Mobil Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Exxon Mobil has a high three-year median payout ratio of 58% (or a retention ratio of 42%), meaning that the company is paying most of its profits as dividends to its shareholders. This does go some way in explaining why there's been no growth in its earnings.

In addition, Exxon Mobil 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company is expected to keep paying out approximately 47% of its profits over the next three years. Regardless, Exxon Mobil's ROE is speculated to decline to 15% despite there being no anticipated change in its payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Exxon Mobil has some positive attributes. However, while the company does have a high ROE, its earnings growth number is quite disappointing. This can be blamed on the fact that it reinvests only a small portion of its profits and pays out the rest as dividends. Moreover, after studying current analyst estimates, we discovered that the company's earnings are expected to continue to shrink in the future. 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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