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Here's Why We Think General Mills (NYSE:GIS) Is Well Worth Watching

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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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like General Mills (NYSE:GIS), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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 General Mills

General Mills's Improving Profits

Even with very modest growth rates, a company will usually do well if it improves earnings per share (EPS) year after year. So it's no surprise that some investors are more inclined to invest in profitable businesses. Over twelve months, General Mills increased its EPS from US$3.59 to US$3.81. That amounts to a small improvement of 6.2%.

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. While we note General Mills's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 2.9% to US$18b. That's a real positive.

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.

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

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

Are General Mills Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since General Mills has a market capitalization of US$36b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$93m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

Is General Mills Worth Keeping An Eye On?

As I already mentioned, General Mills is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Before you take the next step you should know about the 1 warning sign for General Mills that we have uncovered.

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. 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.