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Here's Why I Think Community Trust Bancorp (NASDAQ:CTBI) Is An Interesting Stock

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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 Community Trust Bancorp (NASDAQ:CTBI). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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 Community Trust Bancorp

How Fast Is Community Trust Bancorp 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. Community Trust Bancorp managed to grow EPS by 13% per year, over three years. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

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). I note that Community Trust Bancorp's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Community Trust Bancorp maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 22% to US$217m. That's progress.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

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

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

Are Community Trust Bancorp 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. So it is good to see that Community Trust Bancorp insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$33m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 4.6% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations between US$400m and US$1.6b, like Community Trust Bancorp, the median CEO pay is around US$2.4m.

The CEO of Community Trust Bancorp only received US$1.1m in total compensation for the year ending . That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. 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. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add Community Trust Bancorp To Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, Community Trust Bancorp is a growing business, which is what I like to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Community Trust Bancorp, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. It is worth noting though that we have found 2 warning signs for Community Trust Bancorp (1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you need to take into consideration.

Although Community Trust Bancorp 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.

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.