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. 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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.
How Quickly Is Automatic Data Processing Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. We can see that in the last three years Automatic Data Processing grew its EPS by 13% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. Not all of Automatic Data Processing's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Automatic Data Processing maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 3.4% to US$15b. That's progress.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Automatic Data Processing's future profits.
Are Automatic Data Processing Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Automatic Data Processing has a market capitalization of US$60b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$109m. 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 Automatic Data Processing To Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, Automatic Data Processing is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. The combination sparks joy for me, so I'd consider keeping the company on a watchlist. Once you've identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it's worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Automatic Data Processing. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
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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