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Does Mastercard (NYSE:MA) Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Mastercard (NYSE:MA). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

Check out our latest analysis for Mastercard

How Quickly Is Mastercard Increasing Earnings Per Share?

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. It certainly is nice to see that Mastercard has managed to grow EPS by 22% per year over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.

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). Mastercard shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 54% to 57%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:MA Income Statement, July 19th 2019

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Mastercard's forecast profits?

Are Mastercard Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$283b company like Mastercard. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$287m. 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 Mastercard To Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Mastercard's strong EPS growth. Further, the high level of insider buying impresses me, and suggests that I'm not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. If you think Mastercard might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.

You can invest in 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

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.