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Is Now The Time To Put Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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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 as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

Check out our latest analysis for Huntington Bancshares

How Quickly Is Huntington Bancshares Increasing Earnings Per Share?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Over the last three years, Huntington Bancshares has grown EPS by 15% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained. It's also worth noting that the EPS growth has been assisted by share buybacks, indicating the company is in a position to return capital to shareholders.

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. Not all of Huntington Bancshares's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Huntington Bancshares maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 4.7% to US$4.3b. That's progress.

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.

NasdaqGS:HBAN Income Statement, May 13th 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 Huntington Bancshares's future profits.

Are Huntington Bancshares Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Huntington Bancshares has a market capitalization of US$14b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$142m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.

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 Huntington Bancshares, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.

The Huntington Bancshares CEO received US$8.6m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Does Huntington Bancshares Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, Huntington Bancshares is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for Huntington Bancshares, but the fun does not stop there. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. Once you've identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it's worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Huntington Bancshares. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.