Alpha Financial Markets Consulting plc's (LON:AFM) Stock Has Shown Weakness Lately But Financial Prospects Look Decent: Is The Market Wrong?

·4 min read

It is hard to get excited after looking at Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's (LON:AFM) recent performance, when its stock has declined 9.2% over the past month. But if you pay close attention, you might find that its key financial indicators look quite decent, which could mean that the stock could potentially rise in the long-term given how markets usually reward more resilient long-term fundamentals. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's 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. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Alpha Financial Markets Consulting

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

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

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Alpha Financial Markets Consulting is:

3.1% = UK£3.8m ÷ UK£125m (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each £1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made £0.03 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. 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 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.

A Side By Side comparison of Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's Earnings Growth And 3.1% ROE

When you first look at it, Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's ROE doesn't look that attractive. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 14%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. In spite of this, Alpha Financial Markets Consulting was able to grow its net income considerably, at a rate of 34% in the last five years. We reckon that there could be other factors at play here. Such as - high earnings retention or an efficient management in place.

As a next step, we compared Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's net income growth with the industry, and pleasingly, we found that the growth seen by the company is higher than the average industry growth of 0.6%.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. 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. Is AFM fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Alpha Financial Markets Consulting Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Alpha Financial Markets Consulting's significant three-year median payout ratio of 75% (where it is retaining only 25% of its income) suggests that the company has been able to achieve a high growth in earnings despite returning most of its income to shareholders.

Moreover, Alpha Financial Markets Consulting is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of four years of paying a dividend. Upon studying the latest analysts' consensus data, we found that the company's future payout ratio is expected to drop to 50% over the next three years. The fact that the company's ROE is expected to rise to 18% over the same period is explained by the drop in the payout ratio.

Summary

On the whole, we do feel that Alpha Financial Markets Consulting has some positive attributes. 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. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. 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.

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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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