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. 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.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Conagra Brands (NYSE:CAG), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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 Fast Is Conagra Brands 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. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Conagra Brands has grown EPS by 38% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
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 Conagra Brands's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 17% to US$10b. That's a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 Conagra Brands EPS 100% free.
Are Conagra Brands Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
Even though there was some insider selling over the last year, that was outweighed by Independent Director Craig Omtvedt's huge outlay of US$2.0m, spent buying shares. The average price paid was about US$31.20. Big purchases like that are well worth noting, especially for those who like to follow the insider money.
The good news, alongside the insider buying, for Conagra Brands bulls is that insiders (collectively) have a meaningful investment in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$40m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.2% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Does Conagra Brands Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Conagra Brands's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. The incing on the cake is that insiders own a large chunk of the company and one has even been buying more shares. Because of the potential that it has reached an inflection point, I'd suggest Conagra Brands belongs on the top of your watchlist. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 4 warning signs for Conagra Brands (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of.
The good news is that Conagra Brands 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.
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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. Thank you for reading.