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Is Now The Time To Put SL Green Realty (NYSE:SLG) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like SL Green Realty (NYSE:SLG), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

Check out our latest analysis for SL Green Realty

SL Green Realty'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). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. We can see that in the last three years SL Green Realty grew its EPS by 10% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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. I note that SL Green Realty's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. To cut to the chase SL Green Realty's EBIT margins dropped last year, and so did its revenue. That is, not a hint of euphemism here, suboptimal.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:SLG Income Statement, January 28th 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 SL Green Realty.

Are SL Green Realty Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$7.8b company like SL Green Realty. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. To be specific, they have US$32m worth of shares. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 0.4% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

Does SL Green Realty Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of SL Green Realty is that it is growing profits. Just as polish makes silverware pop, the high level of insider ownership enhances my enthusiasm for this growth. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, just because SL Green Realty is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.