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 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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 NRG Energy Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like the hint of a smile on a face that I love, growing EPS generally makes me look twice. It is therefore awe-striking that NRG Energy's EPS went from US$1.61 to US$17.14 in just one year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. While revenue is looking a bit flat, the good news is EBIT margins improved by 4.6 percentage points to 16%, in the last twelve months. That's something to smile about.
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.
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 NRG Energy EPS 100% free.
Are NRG Energy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since NRG Energy has a market capitalization of US$8.1b, 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. With a whopping US$59m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. This should keep them focused on creating long term value for shareholders.
Should You Add NRG Energy To Your Watchlist?
NRG Energy's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So yes, on this short analysis I do think it's worth considering NRG Energy for a spot on your watchlist. You still need to take note of risks, for example - NRG Energy has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are concerning) we think you should know about.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies 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.
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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