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If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ:BHF) Before It's Too Late

Simply Wall St

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. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ:BHF). 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.

See our latest analysis for Brighthouse Financial

Brighthouse Financial'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 a ray of sunshine through a gap in the clouds, improving EPS is considered a good sign. You can imagine, then, that it almost knocked my socks off when I realized that Brighthouse Financial grew its EPS from US$0.76 to US$15.26, in one short year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement. Could this be a sign that the business has reached an inflection point?

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). I note that Brighthouse Financial's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Brighthouse Financial shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from -13% to 22%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

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.

NasdaqGS:BHF Income Statement, February 6th 2020
NasdaqGS:BHF Income Statement, February 6th 2020

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 Brighthouse Financial's future profits.

Are Brighthouse Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.

We do note that, in the last year, insiders sold -US$11.5k worth of shares. But that's far less than the US$1.2m insiders spend purchasing stock. I find this encouraging because it suggests they are optimistic about the Brighthouse Financial's future. We also note that it was the President, Eric Steigerwalt, who made the biggest single acquisition, paying US$426k for shares at about US$34.04 each.

Is Brighthouse Financial Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Brighthouse Financial's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. Growth investors should find it difficult to look past that strong EPS move. And in fact, it could well signal a fundamental shift in the business economics. If that's the case, you may regret neglecting to put Brighthouse Financial on your watchlist. One of Buffett's considerations when discussing businesses is if they are capital light or capital intensive. Generally, a company with a high return on equity is capital light, and can thus fund growth more easily. So you might want to check this graph comparing Brighthouse Financial's ROE with industry peers (and the market at large).

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Brighthouse Financial, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.