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Xero Limited (ASX:XRO) Stock's Been Sliding But Fundamentals Look Decent: Will The Market Correct The Share Price In The Future?

With its stock down 4.3% over the past week, it is easy to disregard Xero (ASX:XRO). However, the company's fundamentals look pretty decent, and long-term financials are usually aligned with future market price movements. Specifically, we decided to study Xero's 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 simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for Xero

How Is ROE Calculated?

Return on equity 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 Xero is:

13% = NZ$175m ÷ NZ$1.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every A$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of A$0.13.

What Has ROE Got To Do With 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. 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.

Xero's Earnings Growth And 13% ROE

To start with, Xero's ROE looks acceptable. Especially when compared to the industry average of 10% the company's ROE looks pretty impressive. However, for some reason, the higher returns aren't reflected in Xero's meagre five year net income growth average of 3.2%. This is interesting as the high returns should mean that the company has the ability to generate high growth but for some reason, it hasn't been able to do so. A few likely reasons why this could happen is that the company could have a high payout ratio or the business has allocated capital poorly, for instance.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Xero's reported growth was lower than the industry growth of 24% over the last few years, which is not something we like to see.

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 XRO worth today? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether XRO is currently mispriced by the market.

Is Xero Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Xero doesn't pay any regular dividends, which means that it is retaining all of its earnings. This doesn't explain the low earnings growth number that we discussed above. So there could be some other explanation in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Conclusion

On the whole, we do feel that Xero has some positive attributes. Although, we are disappointed to see a lack of growth in earnings even in spite of a high ROE and and a high reinvestment rate. We believe that there might be some outside factors that could be having a negative impact on the business. With that said, the latest industry analyst forecasts reveal that the company's earnings are expected to accelerate. 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.