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.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Preferred Bank (NASDAQ:PFBC). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Quickly Is Preferred Bank 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). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Impressively, Preferred Bank has grown EPS by 29% per year, compound, in the last 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 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 Preferred Bank's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. While we note Preferred Bank's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 13% to US$158m. That's a real positive.
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.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Preferred Bank's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Preferred Bank Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Preferred Bank shares worth a considerable sum. With a whopping US$66m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That holding amounts to 8.7% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.
Does Preferred Bank Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can't deny that Preferred Bank has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. 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. Of course, just because Preferred Bank 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.
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
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