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Here's Why We Think Constellation Software (TSE:CSU) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

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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. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Constellation Software (TSE:CSU), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than 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.

See our latest analysis for Constellation Software

Constellation Software's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. It certainly is nice to see that Constellation Software has managed to grow EPS by 33% per year over three years. So it's not surprising to see the company trades on a very high multiple of (past) earnings.

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). While we note Constellation Software's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 20% to US$3.2b. That's progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

TSX:CSU Income Statement, July 5th 2019

While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Constellation Software?

Are Constellation Software Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$26b company like Constellation Software. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$1.8b. 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.

Is Constellation Software Worth Keeping An Eye On?

You can't deny that Constellation Software has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn't surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Another important measure of business quality not discussed here, is return on equity (ROE). Click on this link to see how Constellation Software shapes up to industry peers, when it comes to ROE.

Although Constellation Software 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.