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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. 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.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like STMicroelectronics (EPA:STM). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business than 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.
How Fast Is STMicroelectronics Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
Over the last three years, STMicroelectronics has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don’t think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. As a result, I’ll zoom in on growth over the last year, instead. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, STMicroelectronics’s EPS soared from US$1.05 to US$1.36, in just one year. That’s a commendable gain of 30%.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company’s growth. While we note STMicroelectronics’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 8.8% to US$9.5b. That’s progress.
The chart below shows how the company’s bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of STMicroelectronics’s forecast profits?
Are STMicroelectronics Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
As a general rule, I think it worth considering how much the CEO is paid, since unreasonably high rates could be considered against the interests of shareholders. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like STMicroelectronics, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$3.9m.
The CEO of STMicroelectronics only received US$1.2m in total compensation for the year ending December 2018. That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does STMicroelectronics Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, STMicroelectronics’s raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. The fast growth bodes well while the very reasonable CEO pay assists builds some confidence in the board. So I’d argue this is the kind of stock worth watching, even if it isn’t great value today. Now, you could try to make up your mind on STMicroelectronics by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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