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Do ConocoPhillips' (NYSE:COP) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

It's common for many investors, especially those who are inexperienced, to buy shares in companies with a good story even if these companies are loss-making. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses. Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.

So if this idea of high risk and high reward doesn't suit, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.

View our latest analysis for ConocoPhillips

How Fast Is ConocoPhillips Growing?

Generally, companies experiencing growth in earnings per share (EPS) should see similar trends in share price. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Recognition must be given to the that ConocoPhillips has grown EPS by 58% per year, over the last three years. Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but it should be more than enough to pique the interest of the wary stock pickers.

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Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. It's noted that ConocoPhillips' revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort our analysis of its margins. EBIT margins for ConocoPhillips remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 42% to US$78b. That's encouraging news for the company!

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for ConocoPhillips' future profits.

Are ConocoPhillips Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$121b company like ConocoPhillips. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enviable stake in the company, worth US$124m. This comes in at 0.1% of shares in the company, which is a fair amount of a business of this size. This still shows shareholders there is a degree of alignment between management and themselves.

Is ConocoPhillips Worth Keeping An Eye On?

ConocoPhillips' earnings per share have been soaring, with growth rates sky high. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders should certainly brighten the view of the company. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So at the surface level, ConocoPhillips is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 2 warning signs for ConocoPhillips (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of.

There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

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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