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If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out Sierra Metals (TSE:SMT) Before It's Too Late

Simply Wall St

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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. 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.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Sierra Metals (TSE:SMT). 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.

See our latest analysis for Sierra Metals

How Fast Is Sierra Metals Growing Its Earnings Per Share?

In a capitalist society capital chases profits, and that means share prices tend rise with earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. It is therefore awe-striking that Sierra Metals's EPS went from US$0.0092 to US$0.051 in just one year. Even though that growth rate is unlikely to be repeated, that looks like a breakout improvement.

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). Sierra Metals shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 13% to 19%, 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.

TSX:SMT Income Statement, May 30th 2019

Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for Sierra Metals.

Are Sierra Metals Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Sierra Metals shares worth a considerable sum. To be specific, they have US$18m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Those holdings account for over 6.4% of the company; visible skin in the game.

Should You Add Sierra Metals To Your Watchlist?

Sierra Metals's earnings per share growth has been so hot recently that thinking about it is making me blush. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders certainly brightens my view of the company. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So yes, on this short analysis I do think it's worth considering Sierra Metals for a spot on your watchlist. Of course, just because Sierra Metals 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.

Although Sierra Metals 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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.