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I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Watsco (NYSE:WSO) Passed With Ease

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·3 min read
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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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.

In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Watsco (NYSE:WSO). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. 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.

View our latest analysis for Watsco

Watsco'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 Watsco grew its EPS by 8.7% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.

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 Watsco's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 6.9% to US$5.2b. That's a real positive.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Watsco's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Watsco Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Watsco has a market capitalization of US$10b, 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. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$667m. 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.

Should You Add Watsco To Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, Watsco is a growing business, which is what I like to see. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Watsco , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

Although Watsco 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.