Investors are often guided by the idea of discovering 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without any revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, these high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.
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 UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). While profit isn't the sole metric that should be considered when investing, it's worth recognising businesses that can consistently produce it.
How Quickly Is UnitedHealth Group Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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) outcomes. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, UnitedHealth Group has grown EPS by 13% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
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 UnitedHealth Group's 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 UnitedHealth Group remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 13% to US$307b. That's progress.
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 UnitedHealth Group.
Are UnitedHealth Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$484b company like UnitedHealth Group. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. Indeed, they have a considerable amount of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$1.6b. While that is a lot of skin in the game, we note this holding only totals to 0.3% of the business, which is a result of the company being so large. So despite their percentage holding being low, company management still have plenty of reasons to deliver the best outcomes for investors.
Does UnitedHealth Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of UnitedHealth Group is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. The combination definitely favoured by investors so consider keeping the company on a watchlist. Don't forget that there may still be risks. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for UnitedHealth Group that you should be aware of.
The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies 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.
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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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