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Do Its Financials Have Any Role To Play In Driving Harvey Norman Holdings Limited's (ASX:HVN) Stock Up Recently?

Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN) has had a great run on the share market with its stock up by a significant 19% over the last three months. As most would know, fundamentals are what usually guide market price movements over the long-term, so we decided to look at the company's key financial indicators today to determine if they have any role to play in the recent price movement. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Harvey Norman Holdings' 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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Harvey Norman 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

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So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Harvey Norman Holdings is:

8.4% = AU$380m ÷ AU$4.5b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every A$1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn A$0.08 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. 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.

Harvey Norman Holdings' Earnings Growth And 8.4% ROE

When you first look at it, Harvey Norman Holdings' ROE doesn't look that attractive. However, its ROE is similar to the industry average of 8.4%, so we won't completely dismiss the company. On the other hand, Harvey Norman Holdings reported a moderate 7.9% net income growth over the past five years. Given the slightly low ROE, it is likely that there could be some other aspects that are driving this growth. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

We then performed a comparison between Harvey Norman Holdings' net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 7.9% in the same 5-year period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is HVN fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Harvey Norman Holdings Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

The high three-year median payout ratio of 56% (or a retention ratio of 44%) for Harvey Norman Holdings suggests that the company's growth wasn't really hampered despite it returning most of its income to its shareholders.

Additionally, Harvey Norman Holdings 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. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 75% over the next three years. Still, forecasts suggest that Harvey Norman Holdings' future ROE will rise to 11% even though the the company's payout ratio is expected to rise. We presume that there could some other characteristics of the business that could be driving the anticipated growth in the company's ROE.

Summary

In total, it does look like Harvey Norman Holdings has some positive aspects to its business. That is, quite an impressive growth in earnings. However, the low profit retention means that the company's earnings growth could have been higher, had it been reinvesting a higher portion of its profits. The latest industry analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to maintain its current 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.

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.