It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like TriMas (NASDAQ:TRS). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Fast Is TriMas Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
In the last three years TriMas's earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn't tell us much. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, TriMas's EPS soared from US$1.16 to US$1.76, in just one year. That's a commendable gain of 52%.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. TriMas shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 12% to 14%, 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. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
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 TriMas.
Are TriMas 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 TriMas shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$18m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 1.3% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Is TriMas Worth Keeping An Eye On?
You can't deny that TriMas has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. Further, the high level of insider buying impresses me, and suggests that I'm not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. 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 TriMas is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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