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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 Ameren (NYSE:AEE). 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. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
Ameren'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. Impressively, Ameren has grown EPS by 18% per year, compound, in the last three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
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. The good news is that Ameren is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.8 percentage points to 27%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Ameren's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Ameren Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$21b company like Ameren. 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$119m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
Does Ameren Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Ameren's strong EPS growth. Further, the high level of insider ownership impresses me, and suggests that I'm not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Even so, be aware that Ameren is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those can't be ignored...
Although Ameren certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
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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