Financial Statements Consists of

- Balance Sheet

-What a company owns, what it owes & what is left over

- Income Statement

-Sales and Expenses, Profit or Loss

- Cash flow Statement

-Sources, uses and balance of Cash

**Fundamentals**

**1.Earnings Per Share (EPS) **

__Definition__

Earnings Per Share (EPS) is the amount of earnings per outstanding share of the companys stock. In calculating earnings per share, the dividends of preferred stocks need to subtracted from the total net income first.

__Explanation__

Earnings Per Share (EPS) is the single most important variable used by Wall Street in determining the earnings power of a company. But investors need to be aware that Earnings per Share can be easily manipulated by adjusting depreciation and amortization rate or non-recurring items.

__Be Aware__

Compared with Earnings per share, a companys cash flow is better indicator of the companys earnings power.

If a companys earnings per share is less than cash flow per share over long term, investors need to be cautious and find out why.

**2. Book Value Per Share**

__Definition__

Theoretically it is what the shareholders will receive if the company is liquidated. Total equity is a balance sheet item and equal to total assetsless total liabilities of the company.

Book value may include intangible items which may come from the companys past acquisitions. Book value less intangibles is called Tangible Book.

**Book Value Per Share = (Total Equity – Preferred Stock) / Total Shares Outstanding**

- (413.2 – 0.0) / 38.1 = 10.86

__Explanation__

Usually a companys book value and Tangible Book Value per Share may not reflect its true value. The assets may be carried on the balance sheets at the original cost minus depreciation. This may underestimate the true economic values of the assets. It also may over-estimate their true economic value because the assets can become obsolete.

For financial companies such as banks and insurance companies, their assets may be reported in current market value of the assets owned. Book values of financial companies are more accurate indicator of the economic value of the company.

**3. Market Cap**

__Definition__

Market cap is the short version of market capitalization. It is the total market value to buy the whole company. It is equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding.

Market Cap (A: Dec. 2013 ) = Share Price (A: Dec. 2013 ) * Shares Outstanding (A: Dec. 2013 )

- 71 * 38.05= 559.7

__Explanation__

Market cap is not the real price you pay for a company. If you buy the company and become its owner, you become the owner of the cash the company has, and you also assume the companys debt. The real price you pay is the Enterprise Value.

Warren Buffett uses the ratio of total market cap of all public traded companies over GDP to measure if the market is expensive. As of April 2012, the US total market cap is about $14.7 trillion, while the US GDP is about $15 trillion. The market was modestly overvalued.

**4. EBITA Per Share**

__Definition__

EBITDA per Share is the amount of Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) per outstanding share of the company’s stock.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) is what the company earns before it expenses interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

__Explanation__

EBITDA is a cash flow measure that ignores changes in working capital. EBITDA minus Depreciation, and Amortization (DA) equals Operating Income. Operating Income is profit before interest and taxes. Of course, Interest and taxes need to be paid.

While depreciation and amortization expenses do not need to be paid in cash, assets – especially tangible assets – do need to be replaced over time. EBITDA is not a measure of profit in any sense. EBITDA is a measure of cash generation by a business where the uses of that cash may be more or less discretionary depending on the nature of the business.

The EBITDA of a TV station is largely discretionary. Owners may use much of the EBITDA generated by a TV station as they see fit. The EBITDA of a railroad is largely non-discretionary. Owners must use much of the EBITDA generated by a railroad to replace the physical assets of the railroad or the business will literally fall apart over time.EBITDA can be thought of as the cash a business generates that is available to:

- Add more inventory
- Add more receivables
- Replace property, plant, and equipment
- Add more property, plant, and equipment
- Pay interest
- Pay taxes

And finally: pay owners

EBITDA is widely used in financial analysis because Depreciation and Amortization are not present day cash expenses.. Depreciation and amortization are the spreading out of the costs of assets over the time in which those assets provide benefits. Todaydepreciation and amortization expenses relate to assets bought in the past. The assets being expensed may or may not need to be replaced in the future. And the cost to replace the assets may be more or less than it was in the past. For this reason, the depreciation and amortization expenses a company records in the present year may have no relationship to the actual cash costs needed to maintain its assets in future years.

A companys depreciation expense depends on both its expectations about the assets it owns and its choice of accounting methods. Two companies owning identical assets may have different depreciation expenses because they have different expectations about the useful lives of those assets and because they make different accounting choices.

Analysts use EBITDA to remove this element of personal choice from a companys accounting statements. The use of EBITDA is an attempt to make the results of different companies more comparable and uniform.

__Be Aware__

Although depreciation is not a cash cost it is a real business cost because the company has to pay for the fixed assets when they purchase them. Both Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger hate the idea of EDITDA because in this calculation, depreciation is not counted as an expense.

EBITDA over Revenue is a good metric for comparing the operating efficiencies between companies because EBITDA is less vulnerable to companies’ accounting choices. For this reason, EBITDA is used in ranking the Predictability of Companies. Also price/EBITDA is sometimes used in valuations.

**5. Revenue Per Share**

__Definition__

Revenue per Share is the amount of Revenue per outstanding share of the companys stock.

Also referred as sales, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. Revenue is often referred to as the “top line” due to its position on the income statement at the very top.

Revenue Per Share (A: Dec. 2013 ) = Revenue (A: Dec. 2013 ) / Total Shares Outstanding (A: Dec. 2013 )

- 71 / 38.642 = 5.30

__Explanation__

In ranking the predictability, companies with more consistent revenue and earnings growth are ranked high with predictability.

Peter Lynch categorized companies according to their revenue growth:

- Slow Grower: Inflation < 10-Year Revenue Growth Rate < 10%:
- Stalwart: 10% < 10-Year Revenue Growth Rate < 20%:
- Fast Grower: 10-Year Revenue Growth Rate > 20%:

His favorite companies are stalwart, those growing between 10-20% a year.

Companies in cyclical industries may see their revenue fluctuate wildly in good years and bad years.

__Be Aware__

Revenue can be manipulated by changing the way how revenue is booked. Companies may book sales before the payment is received, or before the revenue is fully earned. These will be added to balance sheet items such as account payable or account receivables.

**6. Dividends Per Share**

__Definition__

Dividends paid to per common share.

__Explanation__

Dividend payout ratio measures the percentage of the companys earnings paid out as dividends.

Dividend Payout Ratio = Dividends Per Share (Q: Sep. 2014 ) / Earnings per Share (Q: Sep. 2014 )

- 075 / 0.47= 0.16

Dividend Yield = Most Recent Full Year Dividend / Current Share Price

- 3 / 23.10= 1.30 %

Current Share Price is **$23.10**.

EbixInc’s Dividends Per Share for the **trailing twelve months (TTM)** ended in **Today** is **$0.3**.

**7. Free Cash flow Per Share **

**Definition**

Free Cash Flow is considered one of the most important parameters to measure a companys earnings power by value investors because it is not subject to estimates of Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization (DDA). However, when we look at the Free Cash Flow, we should look from a long term perspective, because any years Free Cash Flow can be drastically affected by the spending on Property, Plant, & Equipment (PPE) of the business in that year. Over the long term, Free Cash Flow should give pretty good picture on the real earnings power of the company.

Free Cash Flow (A: Dec. 2013 ) = Cash Flow from Operations + Cash Flow for Capital Expenditures

- 062 + -1.23 = 55.8

**Explanation**

Free Cash Flow is very close to Warren Buffetts definition of Owners Earnings, except that in Warren Buffetts Owners Earnings, the spending for Property, Plant, and Equipment is only for maintenance (replacement), while in the Free Cash Flow calculation, the cost of new Property, Plant, and Equipment due to business expansion is also deducted. There, Free Cash Flow is more conservative than Owners Earnings.

In Don Yacktmans calculation of forward rate of return, he uses Free Cash Flow for the calculation. Yacktman explained the forward rate of return concept in detail in his interview with GuruFocus. Yacktman defines forward rate of return as the normalized free cash flow yield plus real growth plus inflation.

This is what Yacktman said in his March 2012 interview – when the S&P 500 was at 1400:

If the business is stable, this calculation is fairly straightforward. For instance, on the S&P 500 we would normalize earnings. We would then calculate what percentage of those earnings are not reinvested in the underlying businesses and are therefore free. Historically, for the S&P 500, this has been just under 50% of earnings. Currently, we expect the S&P to earn about 70 on a normalized basis, a number which is far below reported earnings due to our adjusting for record high profit margins. $70 X ½ / 1400 gives you a normalized free cash flow yield of approximately 2.5%.”

“The historical real growth rate of the S&P 500 (companies) is about 1.5%. Assuming an inflation rate of 2.5%, the forward rate of return on an investment in the S&P 500 is about 6.5% today (2.5% free cash flow yield plus 1.5% real growth plus 2.5% inflation).”

**Be Aware**

Free Cash Flow within a report period can be affected by management’s decisions of capital spending. Therefore, it is important to look at long term when it comes to Free Cash Flow.

**Valuation Ratio**

**1. Debt to Equity**

__Definition__

Debt to Equity measures the financial leverage a company has.

Debt to Equity = Total Debt / Total Equity

(Current Portion of Long-Term Debt + Long-Term Debt) / Total Equity

- (13.889 + 42.964) / 413.225= 0.14

__Explanation__

In the calculation of Debt to Equity, we use the total of Current Portion of Long-Term Debt and Long-Term Debt divided by Total Equity. In some calculations, Total Liabilities is used to for calculation.

__Be Aware__

Because a company can increase its Return on Equity by having more financial leverage, it is important to watch the leverage ratio when investing in high Return on Equity companies.

**2. Price To Book Ratio (P/B) **

__Definition__

P/B Ratio = Share Price / Book Value per Share (Q: Sep. 2014)

- 10 / 11.75 = 1.97

A closely related ratio is called Price-to-Tangible-Book Ratio. The difference between Price-to-Tangible-Book Ratio and Price-to-Book Ratio is that book value other than intangibles are used in the calculation.

__Explanation__

Unlike valuation ratios relative to the earning power such as P/E ratio, P/S ratio or Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow ratio, the Price-to-Book Ratio measures the valuation of the stock relative to the underlying asset of the company.

The Price-to-Book Ratio works the best for the businesses that earn most of their profit from their assets, e.g. banks and insurance companies.

__Be Aware__

Some businesses have very light assets, such as software companies or insurance agencies. The Price-to-Book Ratio does not work well for these companies. Some companies even have negative equity, so the Price-to-Book Ratio cannot be applied to them.

**3. Price To Earning Ratio (P/E)**

__Definition__

The P/E ratio is the most widely used ratio in the valuation of stocks.

P/E Ratio = Share Price / Earnings per Share (TTM)

- 15 / 1.616 = 14.33

There are at least three kinds of P/E ratios used by different investors. They are Trailing Twelve Month P/E Ratio or P/E (ttm), forward P/E, or P/E (NRI). A new P/E ratio based on inflation-adjusted normalized P/E ratio is called Shiller P/E, after Yale professor Robert Shiller.

In the calculation of P/E (ttm), the earnings per share used are the earnings per share over the past 12 months. For Forward P/E, the earnings are the expected earnings for the next twelve months. In the case of P/E (NRI), the reported earnings less the non-recurring items are used.

For the Shiller P/E, the earnings of the past 10 years are inflation-adjusted and averaged. The result is used for P/E calculation. Since it looks at the average over the last 10 years, Shiller P/E is also called PE10.

__Explanation__

The P/E ratio can be viewed as the number of years it takes for the company to earn back the price you pay for the stock. For example, if a company earns $2 a share per year, and the stock is traded at $30, the P/E ratio is 15. Therefore it takes 15 years for the company to earn back the $30 you paid for its stock, assuming the earnings stays constant over the next 15 years.

In real business, earnings never stay constant. If a company can grow its earnings, it takes fewer years for the company to earn back the price you pay for the stock. If a companys earnings decline it takes more years. As a shareholder, you want the company to earn back the price you pay as soon as possible. Therefore, lower-P/E stocks are more attractive than higher P/E stocks so long as the P/E ratio is positive. Also for stocks with the same P/E ratio, the one with faster growth business is more attractive.

If a company loses money, the P/E ratio becomes meaningless.

To compare stocks with different growth rates, Peter Lynch invented a ratio called PEG. PEG is defined as the P/E ratio divided by the growth ratio. He thinks a company with a P/E ratio equal to its growth rate is fairly valued. Still he said he would rather buy a company growing 20% a year with a P/E of 20, instead of a company growing 10% a year with a P/E of 10.

Because the P/E ratio measures how long it takes to earn back the price you pay, the P/E ratio can be applied to the stocks across different industries. That is why it is the one of the most important and widely used indicators for the valuation of stocks.

Similar to the Price/Sales ratio and Price/Cash Flow or Price/Free Cash Flow, the P/E ratio measures the valuation based on the earning power of the company. This is where it is different from the Price/Book ratio, which measures the valuation based on the companys balance sheet.

__Be Aware__

Investors need to be aware that the P/E ratio can be misleading a lot of times, especially when the underlying business is cyclical and unpredictable. As Peter Lynch pointed out, cyclical businesses have higher profit margins at the peaks of the business cycles. Their earnings are high and P/E ratios are artificially low. It is usually a bad idea to buy a cyclical business when the P/E is low. A better ratio to identify the time to buy a cyclical businesses is the Price-to-Sales Ratio (P/S).

P/E ratio can also be affected by non-recurring-items such as the sale of part of businesses. This may increase for the current year or quarter dramatically. But it cannot be repeated over and over. Therefore P/E (NRI) is a more accurate indication of valuation than P/E (ttm).

**4. P/S Ratio **

__Definition__

The P/S Ratio is another ratio widely used to value stocks. It was first used by Ken Fisher.

P/S Ratio = Share Price / Revenue per Share (TTM)

- 15 / 5.31 = 4.36

__Explanation__

The P/S ratio is an excellent valuation indicator if you want to compare a stock with its historical valuation or with the stocks in the same industry. The P/S ratio works especially well when you want to compare the stocks current valuation with its historical valuation. The P/S ratio is a great valuation tool for evaluating cyclical businesses where the P/E ratio works poorly. It works the best when comparing the current valuation with the historical valuation because over time, a companys profit margin tends to revert to the mean.

When the P/S ratio is applied to the whole stock market, it can be used to evaluate the current market valuation and projected returns. In this case, the price is the total market cap of all stocks that are traded, and sales are the GDP of the country. This is how Warren Buffett estimates the broad market valuation and project future returns.

Similar to the Price/Earnings ratio and Price/Cash Flow or Price/Free Cash Flow, the P/E ratio measures the valuation based on the earning power of the company. This is where it is different from Price/Book ratio, which measures the valuation based on the companys balance sheet.

**Be Aware**

The P/S ratio does not tell you how cheap or expensive the stock is. It cannot be used to compare companies in different industries. It works better for companies within the same industry because these companies tend to have similar capital structures and profit margins. It works the best when comparing a company with itself in the past.

**5. PEG**

__Definition__

PEG is defined as the P/E (NRI) Ratio divided by the growth ratio. The ratio we use is the 5-year average EBITDA growth rate.

PEG = P/E (NRI) Ratio /EBITDA Growth Rate (5-year average)

- 2901234568 / 15.60 = 0.92

__Explanation__

To compare stocks with different growth rates, Peter Lynch invented a ratio called PEG. PEG is defined as the P/E ratio divided by the growth ratio. He thinks a company with a P/E ratio equal to its growth rate is fairly valued. Still he said he would rather buy a company growing 20% a year with a P/E of 20, instead of a company growing 10% a year with a P/E of 10.

**6. Price to Tangible Book Ratio**

__Definition__

Price to Tangible Book = Share Price / Tangible Book Value per Share (Q: Sep. 2014)

- 15 / 0.23 = 100.65

It can also be calculated from the numbers for the whole company:

Price to Tangible Book = Market Cap / Tangible Equity

= Market Cap / (Total Equity – Preferred Stock – Intangibles)

A closely related ratio is called P/B Ratio. The difference between Price-to-Tangible-Book Ratio and P/B Ratio is that book value other than intangibles are used in the calculation.

__Be Aware__

Some businesses have very light assets, such as software companies or insurance agencies. The Price-to-Book Ratio does not work well for these companies. Some companies even have negative equity, so the Price-to-Book Ratio cannot be applied to them.

**7. Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow Ratio**

__Definition__

Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow Ratio = Share Price / Free Cash Flow per Share (TTM)

- 15 / 1.07= 21.64

It can also be calculated from the numbers for the whole company:

- Price-to-Free-Cash-Flow Ratio = Market Cap / Free Cash Flow

__Explanation__

Free Cash Flow is considered more important than earnings by value investors. The reason is because, in principle, only the net cash that can be taken from the business belongs to shareholders. This Free Cash Flow can be used to grow the business, reduce debt or return to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks.

In a DCF Calculation Free Cash Flow is used to determine the intrinsic value of companies.

__Be Aware__

In real business, Free Cash Flow can be affected by the change in accounts receivable, accounts payable, management decision on expansion, etc. Therefore, investors should look at the Free Cash Flow over the longer term. Long-term average of Free Cash Flow is a more reliable indicator for real free cash flow.

**Return on Equity (ROE)**

__Definition__

EbixInc’s annualized Return on Equity (ROE) for the fiscal year that ended in Dec. 2013 is calculated as

ROE = Net Income (A: Dec. 2013 ) / ( (Total Equity (A: Dec. 2012 ) + Total Equity (A: Dec. 2013 )) / 2 )

- 274 / ( (362.155 + 413.225) / 2 ) = 59.274 / 387.69 = 15.29 %

In the calculation of annual return on equity, the net income of the last fiscal year and the average total shareholder equity over the fiscal year are used. In calculating the quarterly data, the Net Income data used here is four times the quarterly (Sep. 2014) net income data. Return on Equity is displayed in the 10-year financial page.

__Explanation__

Return on Equity (ROE) measures the rate of return on the ownership interest (shareholder’s equity) of the common stock owners. It measures a firm’s efficiency at generating profits from every unit of shareholders’ equity (also known as net assets or assets minus liabilities). ROE shows how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth. ROEs between 15% and 20% are considered desirable.

__Be Aware__

Because a company can increase its return on equity by having more financial leverage, it is important to watch the leverage ratio when investing in high ROE companies. Like ROA, ROE is calculated with only 12 months data. Fluctuations in companys earnings or business cycles can affect the ratio drastically. It is important to look at the ratio from a long term perspective.

Asset light businesses require very few assets to generate very high earnings. Their ROEs can be extremely high.

**8. Return on Assets (ROA)**

__Definition__

ROA = Net Income (A: Dec. 2013 ) / ( (Total Assets (A: Dec. 2012 ) + Total Assets (A: Dec. 2013 )) / 2 )

- 274 / ( (516.946 + 553.864) / 2 ) = 59.274 / 535.405 = 11.07 %

In the calculation of annual return on assets, the net income of the last fiscal year and the average total assets over the fiscal year are used. In calculating the quarterly data, the Net Income data used here is four times the quarterly (Sep. 2014) net income data. Return on Assets is displayed in the 10-year financial page.

__Explanation__

Return on assets (ROA) measures the rate of return on the total assets (shareholder equity plus liabilities). It measures a firm’s efficiency at generating profits from shareholders’ equity plus its liabilities. ROA shows how well a company uses what it has to generate earnings. ROAs can vary drastically across industries. Therefore, return on assets should not be used to compare companies in different industries. For retailers, a ROA of higher than 5% is expected. For example, Wal-Mart (WMT) has a ROA of about 8% as of 2012. For banks, ROA is close to their interest spread. A banks ROA is typically well under 2%.

__Be Aware__

Like ROE, ROA is calculated with only 12 months data. Fluctuations in the companys earnings or business cycles can affect the ratio drastically. It is important to look at the ratio from a long term perspective. ROA can be affected by events such as stock buyback or issuance, and by goodwill, a companys tax rate and its interest payment. ROA may not reflect the true earning power of the assets. A more accurate measurement is Return on Capital (ROC).

Many analysts argue the higher return the better. Buffett states that really high ROA may indicate vulnerability in the durability of the competitive advantage.

E.g. Raising $43b to take on KO is impossible, but $1.7b to take on Moodys is. Although Moodys ROA and underlying economics is far superior to Coca Cola, the durability is far weaker because of lower entry cost.

**9. Goodwill to Assets Ratio **

**Definition**

Goodwill to Asset ratio measures how much goodwill a company is recording compared to the total level of its assets. It is calculated by dividing total intangibles assets by total assets.

Goodwill to Asset (A: Dec. 2013 ) = Intangibles / Total Assets

- 689 / 553.864 = 0.76

**Explanation**

If the goodwill-to-asset ratio increases, it can mean that the company is recording a proportionately higher amount of goodwill, assuming total assets are remaining constant. It is generally good to see a company increasing its assets regularly; however, if these increases are coming from intangible assets, such as goodwill, the increases may not be as good.

Increases in the goodwill-to-asset ratio might suggest that a company has been aggressively acquiring other firms or has seen its tangible assets decrease in value. When a large portion of total assets are attributable to intangible assets (such as goodwill), the company may be at risk of having that portion of its asset base wiped out quickly if it must record any goodwill impairments. Decreases in the goodwill-to-assets ratio suggest that the company has either written down some goodwill or increased its tangible assets.Asset needs vary from industry to industry. This is why comparing goodwill-to-assets ratios is generally most meaningful among companies within the same industry. By comparing a company’s goodwill to assets ratio to those of other companies within the same industry, investors can get a feel for how a company is managing its goodwill.

**10. Earnings Yield**

**Definition**

Earnings yield is the reciprocal of the P/E Ratio.

Earnings Yield = Earnings Per Share (TTM) / Share Price

- 616 / 23.10 = 7.00 %

It can also be calculated from the numbers for the whole company:

- Earnings Yield = Net Income / Market Cap

**Explanation**

If the P/E ratio is an indication of how many years it takes for the company to earn back the stock price shareholders pay to buy the shares, the earnings yield is an indication of how much return shareholders’ investment in the company earned over the past 12 months. The higher the earnings yield is, the better.

If a company loses money, the earnings yield is negative. This gives a more straightforward indication that the company is losing money. This is an advantage of using earnings yield instead of the P/E ratio in valuation. For valuation purposes, the P/B Ratio and the P/S Ratio should be used for companies that are losing money.

Like the P/E ratio, the earnings yield can be used to compare investments in different industries. It can even be used to compare the attractiveness of different asset classes such as bonds and cash. Of course, the earnings yield should not be the only factor in deciding which asset classes to invest.

Also similar to the P/E ratio, the earnings yield does not consider the growth of the business. A growing company with the same earnings yield should be more attractive than a company that has the same earnings yield but does not grow.

A better indicator of the attractiveness of an investment which takes growth into account is the Forward Rate of Return.

**11. Earnings Yield (Joel Greenblatt)**

**Definition**

In his book, The Little That Beat the Market, hedge fund manager Joel Greenblatt defines Earnings Yield as operating income divided by enterprise value.

Earnings Yield (Joel Greenblatt) = Operating Income / Enterprise Value

- 006 / 558.2665 = 13.44 %

**Explanation**

Joel Greenblatt defines the earnings yield using the above equation because it more accurately reflects the companys profitability relative to its stock price. Items like interest payment and tax etc. are not directly related to the companys operational profitability.

Enterprise Value instead of market cap (share price) is used in the calculation because it is the real price stock and bond investors together pay for the company.

**Be Aware**

Joel Greenblatts definition of earnings yield has the same problems the regular earnings yield does. It does not consider the growth of the company. It only looks at one-years business operation. For cyclical companies, the earnings yield is usually highest at the peak of the business cycle. But these earnings are rarely sustainable.

**12. Forward Rate of Return.**

**Definition**

Forward Rate of Return is a concept that Don Yacktman uses in his investment approach. Yacktman explained the forward rate of return concept in detail in his interview with GuruFocus. Yacktman defines forward rate of return as the normalized free cash flow yield plus real growth plus inflation. He said in the interview (March 2012, when the S&P 500 was at about 1400):

If the business is stable, this calculation is fairly straightforward. For instance, on the S&P 500 we would normalize earnings. We would then calculate what percentage of those earnings are not reinvested in the underlying businesses and are therefore free. Historically, for the S&P 500, this has been just under 50% of earnings. Currently, we expect the S&P to earn about 70 on a normalized basis, a number which is far below reported earnings due to our adjusting for record high profit margins. $70 X ½ / 1400 gives you a normalized free cash flow yield of approximately 2.5%.”

The historical real growth rate of the S&P 500 (companies) is about 1.5%. Assuming an inflation rate of 2.5%, the forward rate of return on an investment in the S&P 500 is about 6.5% today (2.5% free cash flow yield plus 1.5% real growth plus 2.5% inflation).”

Forward Rate of Return = Normalized Free Cash Flow / Price + Growth rate

- 412 / 14.18 + 0.1196 = 21.92 %

**Explanation**

Unlike the Earnings Yield, the Forward Rate of Return uses the normalized Free Cash Flow of the past seven years, and considers growth. The forward rate of return can be thought of as the return that investors buying the stock today can expect from it in the future.

For the growth part of the Forward Rate of Return calculation, GuruFocus uses the lower of total revenue growth or per share revenue growth, and the growth rate is always capped at 20%. For the Free Cash Flow we use per share data averaged over seven years. The reason we use seven years is because research shows that seven years is the length of the typical business cycle.

**Be Aware**

In the Forward Rate of Return calculation, the growth rate is added directly to todays free cash flow yield. Therefore the calculation is reliable only if the company can grow at the same rate in the future as it did in the past. Investors should pay close attention to this when researching growth stocks. More accurate measurement return returns are Return on Capital.