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Is Now The Time To Put CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS). 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.

Check out our latest analysis for CMS Energy

CMS Energy's Improving Profits

Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. It's good to see that CMS Energy's EPS have grown from US$1.94 to US$2.20 over twelve months. That's a 13% gain; respectable growth in the broader scheme of things.

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. It seems CMS Energy is pretty stable, since revenue and EBIT margins are pretty flat year on year. That's not bad, but it doesn't point to ongoing future growth, either.

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.

NYSE:CMS Income Statement, December 31st 2019

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 CMS Energy's future profits.

Are CMS Energy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$18b company like CMS Energy. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. With a whopping US$84m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? 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 CMS Energy, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.

The CMS Energy CEO received US$8.1m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Is CMS Energy Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One positive for CMS Energy is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for CMS Energy, but the fun does not stop there. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. While we've looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven't yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if CMS Energy is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Although CMS Energy 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

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.

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