The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.
Despite being in the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, many investors still adopt a more traditional strategy; buying shares in profitable companies like United Rentals (NYSE:URI). Even if this company is fairly valued by the market, investors would agree that generating consistent profits will continue to provide United Rentals with the means to add long-term value to shareholders.
United Rentals' Earnings Per Share Are Growing
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. It certainly is nice to see that United Rentals has managed to grow EPS by 31% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away satisfied.
Top-line growth is a great indicator that growth is sustainable, and combined with a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin, it's a great way for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. The good news is that United Rentals is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.4 percentage points to 28%, over the last year. Both of which are great metrics to check off for potential growth.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of United Rentals' future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are United Rentals Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Owing to the size of United Rentals, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a considerable amount of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$133m. This comes in at 0.4% of shares in the company, which is a fair amount of a business of this size. So despite their percentage holding being low, company management still have plenty of reasons to deliver the best outcomes for investors.
Is United Rentals Worth Keeping An Eye On?
If you believe that share price follows earnings per share you should definitely be delving further into United Rentals' strong EPS growth. Further, the high level of insider ownership is impressive and suggests that the management appreciates the EPS growth and has faith in United Rentals' continuing strength. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research, so it would seem that it's a good stock to follow. It is worth noting though that we have found 2 warning signs for United Rentals that you need to take into consideration.
The beauty of investing is that you can invest in almost 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.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.