For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like PetroTal (CVE:TAL). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
PetroTal's Improving Profits
In a capitalist society capital chases profits, and that means share prices tend rise with earnings per share (EPS). So like a ray of sunshine through a gap in the clouds, improving EPS is considered a good sign. It is therefore awe-striking that PetroTal's EPS went from US$0.009 to US$0.068 in just one year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. PetroTal's EBIT margins have actually improved by 61.0 percentage points in the last year, to reach 69%, but, on the flip side, revenue was down 7.2%. That's not ideal.
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 PetroTal.
Are PetroTal Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like standing at the lookout, surveying the horizon at sunrise, insider buying, for some investors, sparks joy. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
We note that PetroTal insiders spent US$69k on stock, over the last year; in contrast, we didn't see any selling. That puts the company in a nice light, as it makes me think its leaders are feeling confident.
Does PetroTal Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
PetroTal's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. Growth investors should find it difficult to look past that strong EPS move. And indeed, it could be a sign that the business is at an inflection point. If that's the case, you may regret neglecting to put PetroTal on your watchlist. What about risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for PetroTal (of which 1 shouldn't be ignored!) you should know about.
The good news is that PetroTal 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.
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.
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