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 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.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like H.B. Fuller (NYSE:FUL). 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.
H.B. Fuller's Earnings Per Share Are 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 means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. H.B. Fuller managed to grow EPS by 7.7% per year, over three years. That might not be particularly high growth, but it does show that per-share earnings are moving steadily in the right direction.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. It seems H.B. Fuller is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not bad, but it doesn't point to ongoing future growth, either.
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.
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 H.B. Fuller.
Are H.B. Fuller 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 H.B. Fuller insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$22m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 0.9% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Should You Add H.B. Fuller To Your Watchlist?
One positive for H.B. Fuller is that it is growing EPS. That's nice 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. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of H.B. Fuller.
Although H.B. Fuller 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
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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