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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. 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 Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG). 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.
Cabot Oil & Gas's Improving Profits
In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. You can imagine, then, that it almost knocked my socks off when I realized that Cabot Oil & Gas grew its EPS from US$0.24 to US$1.61, in one short year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company.
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). Cabot Oil & Gas shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from -0.5% to 40%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
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.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Cabot Oil & Gas's forecast profits?
Are Cabot Oil & Gas Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$11b company like Cabot Oil & Gas. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$184m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
Is Cabot Oil & Gas Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Cabot Oil & Gas's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So to my mind Cabot Oil & Gas is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of Cabot Oil & Gas.
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.