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Is Now The Time To Put O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for O'Reilly Automotive

O'Reilly Automotive's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, O'Reilly Automotive's EPS has grown 18% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners. And for those who like the finer details, I'll add that the EPS growth has been helped by share buybacks, demonstrating that the business is positioned to return capital to its shareholders.

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. While we note O'Reilly Automotive's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 6.4% to US$10b. That's a real positive.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

NasdaqGS:ORLY Income Statement, March 17th 2020
NasdaqGS:ORLY Income Statement, March 17th 2020

Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for O'Reilly Automotive.

Are O'Reilly Automotive Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since O'Reilly Automotive has a market capitalization of US$22b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$375m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

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 O'Reilly Automotive, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$12m.

The O'Reilly Automotive CEO received total compensation of just US$4.9m in the year to . That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Should You Add O'Reilly Automotive To Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, O'Reilly Automotive's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. If that's not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. Each to their own, but I think all this makes O'Reilly Automotive look rather interesting indeed. Even so, be aware that O'Reilly Automotive is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , 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.

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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