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For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Virtu Financial (NASDAQ:VIRT). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that 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 Quickly Is Virtu Financial Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Virtu Financial's EPS has grown 33% 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.
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. While we note Virtu Financial's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 60% to US$3.0b. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Virtu Financial's future profits.
Are Virtu Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. Because oftentimes, the purchase of stock is a sign that the buyer views it as undervalued. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
We did see some selling in the last twelve months, but that's insignificant compared to the whopping US$2.2m that the CEO & Director, Douglas Cifu spent acquiring shares. We should note the average purchase price was around US$22.45. Big purchases like that are well worth noting, especially for those who like to follow the insider money.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Virtu Financial insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$42m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.8% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Is Virtu Financial Worth Keeping An Eye On?
You can't deny that Virtu Financial has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. The cranberry sauce on the turkey is that insiders own a bunch of shares, and one has been buying more. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. We should say that we've discovered 3 warning signs for Virtu Financial (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. So if you like the sound of Virtu Financial, you'll probably love this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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.
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