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If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) Before It's Too Late

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. 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 Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA). 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.

View our latest analysis for Murphy USA

How Fast Is Murphy USA Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Murphy USA has grown EPS by 41% per year, over the last three years. Growth that fast may well be fleeting, but like a lotus blooming from a murky pond, it sparks joy for the wary stock pickers.

One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. Murphy USA's EBIT margins have actually improved by 2.8 percentage points in the last year, to reach 5.3%, but, on the flip side, revenue was down 17%. That falls short of ideal.

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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Murphy USA's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Murphy USA 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. So it is good to see that Murphy USA insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$249m. 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 Murphy USA To Your Watchlist?

Murphy USA'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 Murphy USA is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Murphy USA (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.