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Should You Be Adding Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) To Your Watchlist Today?

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It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue Metals Group's Improving Profits

Over the last three years, Fortescue Metals Group has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don't think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. As a result, I'll zoom in on growth over the last year, instead. Like the last firework on New Year's Eve accelerating into the sky, Fortescue Metals Group's EPS shot from US$1.54 to US$3.35, over the last year. You don't see 117% year-on-year growth like that, very often. That could be a sign that the business has reached a true inflection point.

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). Fortescue Metals Group shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 53% to 68%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

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

While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Fortescue Metals Group?

Are Fortescue Metals Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.

It's a pleasure to note that insiders spent US$193m buying Fortescue Metals Group shares, over the last year, without reporting any share sales whatsoever. 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 Founder & Chairman of the Board John Andrew Forrest who made the biggest single purchase, worth AU$193m, paying AU$19.33 per share.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Fortescue Metals Group bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$185m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

Does Fortescue Metals Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Fortescue Metals Group's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. What's more insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. Because of the potential that it has reached an inflection point, I'd suggest Fortescue Metals Group belongs on the top of your watchlist. It is worth noting though that we have found 3 warning signs for Fortescue Metals Group (1 can't be ignored!) that you need to take into consideration.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Fortescue Metals Group, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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. 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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