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We Like Lowe's Companies' (NYSE:LOW) Returns And Here's How They're Trending

If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. And in light of that, the trends we're seeing at Lowe's Companies' (NYSE:LOW) look very promising so lets take a look.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Lowe's Companies is:

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

0.44 = US$12b ÷ (US$45b - US$18b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2023).

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Thus, Lowe's Companies has an ROCE of 44%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Specialty Retail industry average of 13%.

See our latest analysis for Lowe's Companies

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In the above chart we have measured Lowe's Companies' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Lowe's Companies.

The Trend Of ROCE

Lowe's Companies' ROCE growth is quite impressive. Looking at the data, we can see that even though capital employed in the business has remained relatively flat, the ROCE generated has risen by 52% over the last five years. So it's likely that the business is now reaping the full benefits of its past investments, since the capital employed hasn't changed considerably. The company is doing well in that sense, and it's worth investigating what the management team has planned for long term growth prospects.

What We Can Learn From Lowe's Companies' ROCE

As discussed above, Lowe's Companies appears to be getting more proficient at generating returns since capital employed has remained flat but earnings (before interest and tax) are up. And a remarkable 132% total return over the last five years tells us that investors are expecting more good things to come in the future. In light of that, we think it's worth looking further into this stock because if Lowe's Companies can keep these trends up, it could have a bright future ahead.

Lowe's Companies does have some risks, we noticed 3 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think you should know about.

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.