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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like NMI Holdings (NASDAQ:NMIH). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business than can consistently produce it. 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.
How Fast Is NMI Holdings Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that NMI Holdings has grown EPS by 47% 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.
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. NMI Holdings shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 50% to 59%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed 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 NMI Holdings.
Are NMI Holdings Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that NMI Holdings insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have US$38m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 2.1% 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. Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like NMI Holdings with market caps between US$1.0b and US$3.2b is about US$4.1m.
NMI Holdings offered total compensation worth US$2.2m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Does NMI Holdings Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
NMI Holdings's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. NMI Holdings certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. Now, you could try to make up your mind on NMI Holdings by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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