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Here's Why I Think Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) Might Deserve Your Attention Today

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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 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 Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

View our latest analysis for Asbury Automotive Group

Asbury Automotive Group's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Asbury Automotive Group has grown EPS by 43% 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. Not all of Asbury Automotive Group's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Asbury Automotive Group shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 4.7% to 6.8%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

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

The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future Asbury Automotive Group EPS 100% free.

Are Asbury Automotive Group 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Asbury Automotive Group shares worth a considerable sum. To be specific, they have US$32m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 0.8% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

Is Asbury Automotive Group Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Asbury Automotive Group's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. 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 Asbury Automotive Group for a spot on your watchlist. We should say that we've discovered 1 warning sign for Asbury Automotive Group that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.

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