The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.' A loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the inflow of external capital may dry up.
Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like Fletcher Building (NZSE:FBU). 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.
How Quickly Is Fletcher Building Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Shareholders will be happy to know that Fletcher Building's EPS has grown 24% each year, compound, over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be beaming.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. Fletcher Building maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 4.7% to NZ$8.5b. That's a real positive.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Fletcher Building.
Are Fletcher Building Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Insider interest in a company always sparks a bit of intrigue and many investors are on the lookout for companies where insiders are putting their money where their mouth is. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
Not only did Fletcher Building insiders refrain from selling stock during the year, but they also spent NZ$272k buying it. This is a good look for the company as it paints an optimistic picture for the future. It is also worth noting that it was Group General Counsel & Company Secretary Andrew Clarke who made the biggest single purchase, worth NZ$75k, paying NZ$6.45 per share.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Fletcher Building insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold NZ$20m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. While their ownership only accounts for 0.5%, this is still a considerable amount at stake to encourage the business to maintain a strategy that will deliver value to shareholders.
Does Fletcher Building Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Fletcher Building has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more shares in the company. These things considered, this is one stock worth watching. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Fletcher Building (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.
The good news is that Fletcher Building is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... with insider buying in the last three months!
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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