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Is Now The Time To Put Cambridge Bancorp (NASDAQ:CATC) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Cambridge Bancorp (NASDAQ:CATC). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

View our latest analysis for Cambridge Bancorp

How Quickly Is Cambridge Bancorp Increasing Earnings Per Share?

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. We can see that in the last three years Cambridge Bancorp grew its EPS by 9.4% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

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. I note that Cambridge Bancorp's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Cambridge Bancorp maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 12% to US$105m. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

NasdaqCM:CATC Income Statement, January 12th 2020

While profitability drives the upside, prudent investors always check the balance sheet, too.

Are Cambridge Bancorp 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. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Cambridge Bancorp top brass are certainly in sync, not having sold any shares, over the last year. But the bigger deal is that the Independent Director, R. Stone, paid US$74k to buy shares at an average price of US$74.22.

The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Cambridge Bancorp bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$12m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 3.0% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

Is Cambridge Bancorp Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One positive for Cambridge Bancorp is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. On top of that, we've seen insiders buying shares even though they already own plenty. That makes the company a prime candidate for my watchlist - and arguably a research priority. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of Cambridge Bancorp.

The good news is that Cambridge Bancorp 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

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.