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Check Point Software Technologies' (NASDAQ:CHKP) Returns Have Hit A Wall

To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. Looking at Check Point Software Technologies (NASDAQ:CHKP), it does have a high ROCE right now, but lets see how returns are trending.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. The formula for this calculation on Check Point Software Technologies is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.23 = US$884m ÷ (US$5.7b - US$1.8b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

So, Check Point Software Technologies has an ROCE of 23%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 9.5% earned by companies in a similar industry.

See our latest analysis for Check Point Software Technologies

roce
roce

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Check Point Software Technologies compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What The Trend Of ROCE Can Tell Us

Things have been pretty stable at Check Point Software Technologies, with its capital employed and returns on that capital staying somewhat the same for the last five years. Businesses with these traits tend to be mature and steady operations because they're past the growth phase. So while the current operations are delivering respectable returns, unless capital employed increases we'd be hard-pressed to believe it's a multi-bagger going forward.

On another note, while the change in ROCE trend might not scream for attention, it's interesting that the current liabilities have actually gone up over the last five years. This is intriguing because if current liabilities hadn't increased to 32% of total assets, this reported ROCE would probably be less than23% because total capital employed would be higher.The 23% ROCE could be even lower if current liabilities weren't 32% of total assets, because the the formula would show a larger base of total capital employed. With that in mind, just be wary if this ratio increases in the future, because if it gets particularly high, this brings with it some new elements of risk.

What We Can Learn From Check Point Software Technologies' ROCE

Although is allocating it's capital efficiently to generate impressive returns, it isn't compounding its base of capital, which is what we'd see from a multi-bagger. Unsurprisingly, the stock has only gained 30% over the last five years, which potentially indicates that investors are accounting for this going forward. As a result, if you're hunting for a multi-bagger, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.

Check Point Software Technologies could be trading at an attractive price in other respects, so you might find our free intrinsic value estimation on our platform quite valuable.

High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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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