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Here's Why I Think Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK) Might Deserve Your Attention Today

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·4 min read
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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 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 the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK). 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.

See our latest analysis for Jack in the Box

How Fast Is Jack in the Box Growing?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Jack in the Box's EPS has grown 26% each year, compound, over three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.

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. Jack in the Box shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 15% to 25%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

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 Jack in the Box EPS 100% free.

Are Jack in the Box 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 Jack in the Box insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have US$29m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 1.1% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Jack in the Box, the median CEO pay is around US$5.4m.

The CEO of Jack in the Box only received US$1.4m in total compensation for the year ending . That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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 good governance, more generally.

Does Jack in the Box Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Jack in the Box's strong EPS growth. If that's not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. This may only be a fast rundown, but the takeaway for me is that Jack in the Box is worth keeping an eye on. Still, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Jack in the Box (including 1 which is a bit concerning) .

Although Jack in the Box 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.

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.