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Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Quanex Building Products (NYSE:NX), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Quickly Is Quanex Building Products Increasing Earnings Per Share?
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Quanex Building Products's EPS has grown 31% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). While we note Quanex Building Products's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 26% to US$1.1b. That's a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
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 Quanex Building Products.
Are Quanex Building Products Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.
It's good to see Quanex Building Products insiders walking the walk, by spending US$682k on shares in just twelve months. When you contrast that with the complete lack of sales, it's easy for shareholders to brim with joyful expectancy. Zooming in, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by Director Jason Lippert for US$263k worth of shares, at about US$25.54 per share.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Quanex Building Products insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$13m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that's only about 1.7% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.
Does Quanex Building Products Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, Quanex Building Products's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. On top of that, insiders own a significant stake in the company and have been buying more shares. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Quanex Building Products by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
The good news is that Quanex Building Products is not the only growth stock with insider buying. Here's a list of them... 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.