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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ:PACW). 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.
PacWest Bancorp's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. PacWest Bancorp managed to grow EPS by 11% per year, over three years. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. I note that PacWest Bancorp's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. It seems PacWest Bancorp is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not a major concern but nor does it point to the long term growth we like to see.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of PacWest Bancorp's forecast profits?
Are PacWest Bancorp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own PacWest Bancorp shares worth a considerable sum. With a whopping US$71m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
Does PacWest Bancorp Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of PacWest Bancorp is that it is growing profits. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, just because PacWest Bancorp is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.
Although PacWest Bancorp certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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