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# American Financial Group, Inc.'s (NYSE:AFG) Stock Is Going Strong: Is the Market Following Fundamentals?

Most readers would already be aware that American Financial Group's (NYSE:AFG) stock increased significantly by 10% over the past three months. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term fundamentals, we decided to study the company’s key performance indicators to see if they could be influencing the market. Specifically, we decided to study American Financial Group'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. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

See our latest analysis for American Financial Group

## 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 American Financial Group is:

20% = US\$852m ÷ US\$4.3b (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2023).

The 'return' is the income the business earned over the last year. One way to conceptualize this is that for each \$1 of shareholders' capital it has, the company made \$0.20 in profit.

## What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

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

## American Financial Group's Earnings Growth And 20% ROE

To begin with, American Financial Group seems to have a respectable ROE. Further, the company's ROE compares quite favorably to the industry average of 13%. This certainly adds some context to American Financial Group's decent 13% net income growth seen over the past five years.

As a next step, we compared American Financial Group'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 8.1%.

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if American Financial Group is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

## Is American Financial Group Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

In American Financial Group's case, its respectable earnings growth can probably be explained by its low three-year median payout ratio of 23% (or a retention ratio of 77%), which suggests that the company is investing most of its profits to grow its business.

Moreover, American Financial Group is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to rise to 58% over the next three years. Despite the higher expected payout ratio, the company's ROE is not expected to change by much.

## Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with American Financial Group's performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. 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. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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.