Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ). 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.
Domino's Pizza's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
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. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Domino's Pizza's EPS has grown 31% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
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). While we note Domino's Pizza's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 9.6% to US$3.6b. That's progress.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Domino's Pizza's forecast profits?
Are Domino's Pizza Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Domino's Pizza has a market capitalization of US$11b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. With a whopping US$75m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. This should keep them focused on creating long term value for shareholders.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Domino's Pizza, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.
The Domino's Pizza CEO received US$9.1m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add Domino's Pizza To Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, Domino's Pizza's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Domino's Pizza is worth keeping an eye on. 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 Domino's Pizza is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Although Domino's Pizza certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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