Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like HealthEquity (NASDAQ:HQY), 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.
How Fast Is HealthEquity Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
In the last three years HealthEquity's earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn't tell us much. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. Like a falcon taking flight, HealthEquity's EPS soared from US$0.92 to US$1.50, over the last year. That's a impressive gain of 63%.
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. HealthEquity shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 24% to 28%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
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 HealthEquity.
Are HealthEquity 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.
We do note that, in the last year, insiders sold -US$338.3k worth of shares. But that's far less than the US$2.4m insiders spend purchasing stock. I find this encouraging because it suggests they are optimistic about the HealthEquity's future. It is also worth noting that it was Director Adrian Dillon who made the biggest single purchase, worth US$610k, paying US$61.00 per share.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for HealthEquity is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$125m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Jon Kessler, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like HealthEquity, the median CEO pay is around US$6.9m.
HealthEquity offered total compensation worth US$4.8m to its CEO in the year to January 2019. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does HealthEquity Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, HealthEquity's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. On top of that, insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Of course, profit growth is one thing but it's even better if HealthEquity is receiving high returns on equity, since that should imply it can keep growing without much need for capital. Click on this link to see how it is faring against the average in its industry.
The good news is that HealthEquity 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
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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. Thank you for reading.