October 15, 2022

Return On Equity: Understanding a Key Financial Metric

Return On Equity: Understanding a Key Financial Metric

What is Return on equity (ROE)?

Return on equity (ROE) is a financial ratio that measures the profitability of a company in relation to the equity of its common shareholders. It is a valuable metric for investors and analysts to evaluate a company's performance and compare it to others within the same industry. In this article, we will explore how to calculate ROE and what it means for a company's bottom line.

To calculate ROE, we need to look at a company's balance sheet and income statement. On the balance sheet, we want to find the total assets and total equity of the company. On the income statement, we are interested in the net income for a given period of time.

Once we have these numbers, we can calculate ROE by dividing the net income by the total equity and expressing the result as a percentage. This gives us a measure of how well the company is generating income in relation to the equity invested by its common shareholders.

A high ROE indicates that a company is efficient at generating profits and may be a sign of strong financial leverage. On the other hand, a low ROE may indicate that the company is not generating enough income to cover its equity and may be struggling to generate profits.

One way for a company to improve its ROE is through share buybacks. By buying back its own shares, a company can reduce the number of outstanding shares and increase its earnings per share. This can lead to an increase in the company's stock price and potentially improve its ROE.

When comparing companies within the same industry, it is important to take into account their growth rate and financial leverage. A company with a higher ROE may not necessarily be the better choice if it has a lower growth rate or higher financial leverage. It is important to look at the overall picture and not just focus on a single metric.


Return on equity is a key financial ratio that can help investors and analysts evaluate a company's performance and compare it to others within the same industry. By calculating ROE and understanding its implications, we can gain insights into a company's ability to generate income and profits for its common shareholders.

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