Economic Margin is a measure of economic profitability that identifies how much a company earns above or below its cost of capital. We analyzed all companies in the S&P 500 Index based on their historical, current and forecasted Economic Margins to see which firms have the best average of past, present and future profitability. We identified the two most profitable and the two least profitable companies from each sector and have presented them in the table below. As a base of reference, the average firm in corporate America earns a 0 (zero) Economic Margin, or is a “break-even business”. Our research has shown that companies with consistently positive EMs that are also expected to increase their EMs in the future tend to outperfom firms with negative or declining EMs.
Economic Margin is a corporate performance measure, which helps us identify well managed, wealth creating companies. Although not included in this post, we want to remind you that it is also important to understand the attractiveness of corporations' valuations to make sure we invest in great companies at great prices. (Here is an article by ValueExpectations.com explaining Applied Finance Group’s basic valuation concepts).
Note: Only companies in the S&P 500 were included.
S&P 500 Companies With The Best/Worst Average Profitability (Economic Margin)
Economic Margin (EM) Defined: A measure of corporate performance that captures off balance sheet items, by looking at how much a company is earning above or below their cost of capital. EM is expressed in a % or margin. The Economic Margin Framework™ is more than just a performance metric as it encompasses a valuation system that explicitly addresses the four main drivers of enterprise value: profitability, competition, growth and cost of capital. more EM details (PDF)