Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
AbbVie's Improving Profits
Even with very modest growth rates, a company will usually do well if it improves earnings per share (EPS) year after year. So it's no surprise that some investors are more inclined to invest in profitable businesses. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, AbbVie's EPS soared from US$2.74 to US$4.53, in just one year. That's a commendable gain of 66%.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). On the one hand, AbbVie's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So it seems the future my hold further growth, especially if EBIT margins can stabilize.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future AbbVie EPS 100% free.
Are AbbVie Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
The good news is that AbbVie insiders spent a whopping US$1.1m on stock in just one year, and I didn't see any selling. As if for a flower bud approaching bloom, I become an expectant observer, anticipating with hope, that something splendid is coming. It is also worth noting that it was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Innovation Nicholas Donoghoe who made the biggest single purchase, worth US$498k, paying US$66.19 per share.
The good news, alongside the insider buying, for AbbVie bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$159m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
Should You Add AbbVie To Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, AbbVie's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more, shares in the company. So I do think this is one stock worth watching. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with AbbVie (at least 1 which is a bit concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
The good news is that AbbVie 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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