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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.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Healthcare Trust of America (NYSE:HTA). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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.
Healthcare Trust of America'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). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Healthcare Trust of America has grown EPS by 55% per year, over the last three years. That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.
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). Healthcare Trust of America maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 3.7% to US$691m. That's a real positive.
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.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Healthcare Trust of America?
Are Healthcare Trust of America Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. Of course, we can never be sure what insiders are thinking, we can only judge their actions.
The good news for Healthcare Trust of America shareholders is that no insiders reported selling shares in the last year. With that in mind, it's heartening that Vicki Booth, the Independent Director of the company, paid US$25k for shares at around US$24.73 each.
On top of the insider buying, it's good to see that Healthcare Trust of America insiders have a valuable investment in the business. Indeed, they hold US$32m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.5% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Is Healthcare Trust of America Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Healthcare Trust of America's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. If you're like me, you'll find it hard to ignore that sort of explosive EPS growth. And in fact, it could well signal a fundamental shift in the business economics. If that's the case, you may regret neglecting to put Healthcare Trust of America on your watchlist. If you think Healthcare Trust of America might suit your style as an investor, you could go straight to its annual report, or you could first check our discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation for the company.
The good news is that Healthcare Trust of America 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
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.