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Does Granite Point Mortgage Trust (NYSE:GPMT) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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 Granite Point Mortgage Trust (NYSE:GPMT). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

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Check out our latest analysis for Granite Point Mortgage Trust

Granite Point Mortgage Trust's Improving Profits

In the last three years Granite Point Mortgage Trust's earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn't tell us much. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, Granite Point Mortgage Trust's EPS soared from US$0.93 to US$1.46, in just one year. That's a commendable gain of 57%.

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). Not all of Granite Point Mortgage Trust'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. While we note Granite Point Mortgage Trust's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 23% to US$98m. That's progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:GPMT Income Statement, May 16th 2019

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 Granite Point Mortgage Trust's future profits.

Are Granite Point Mortgage Trust Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Not only did Granite Point Mortgage Trust insiders refrain from selling stock during the year, but they also spent US$170k buying it. That puts the company in a nice light, as it makes me think its leaders are feeling confident. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by President John Taylor for US$73k worth of shares, at about US$18.15 per share.

On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Granite Point Mortgage Trust insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$20m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 1.9% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

While insiders are apparently happy to hold and accumulate shares, that is just part of the pretty picture. The cherry on top is that the CEO, Jack Taylor is paid comparatively modestly to CEOs at similar sized companies. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Granite Point Mortgage Trust with market caps between US$400m and US$1.6b is about US$2.7m.

The Granite Point Mortgage Trust CEO received total compensation of just US$1.2m in the year to December 2018. That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Does Granite Point Mortgage Trust Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Granite Point Mortgage Trust's strong EPS growth. Not only that, but we can see that insiders both own a lot of, and are buying more, shares in the company. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if Granite Point Mortgage Trust is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But Granite Point Mortgage Trust isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.