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Here's Why We Think HCI Group (NYSE:HCI) 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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in HCI Group (NYSE:HCI). 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for HCI Group

How Fast Is HCI Group 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). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that HCI Group has grown EPS by 46% per year, over the last three years. That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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. Not all of HCI Group's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. On the one hand, HCI Group's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

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

The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future HCI Group EPS 100% free.

Are HCI Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.

Not only did HCI Group insiders refrain from selling stock during the year, but they also spent US$84k buying it. That puts the company in a nice light, as it makes me think its leaders are feeling confident.

On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that HCI Group insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$183m. That equates to 22% of the company, making insiders powerful and aligned with other shareholders. So it might be my imagination, but I do sense the glimmer of an opportunity.

Should You Add HCI Group To Your Watchlist?

HCI Group's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. What's more insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. Because of the potential that it has reached an inflection point, I'd suggest HCI Group belongs on the top of your watchlist. You still need to take note of risks, for example - HCI Group has 4 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

The good news is that HCI Group is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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.