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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. 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 contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like DXP Enterprises (NASDAQ:DXPE), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.
How Quickly Is DXP Enterprises Increasing Earnings Per Share?
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Who among us would not applaud DXP Enterprises's stratospheric annual EPS growth of 57%, compound, 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.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. DXP Enterprises maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 9.6% to US$1.3b. That's progress.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 DXP Enterprises.
Are DXP Enterprises 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 DXP Enterprises shares worth a considerable sum. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$54m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That holding amounts to 8.3% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? 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 DXP Enterprises, the median CEO pay is around US$2.5m.
DXP Enterprises offered total compensation worth US$2.1m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Should You Add DXP Enterprises To Your Watchlist?
DXP Enterprises's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. DXP Enterprises certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. 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 DXP Enterprises 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
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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