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 Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN). 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.
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How Quickly Is Huntington Bancshares Increasing Earnings Per Share?
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). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. We can see that in the last three years Huntington Bancshares grew its EPS by 15% per year. That’s a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it. It’s also worth noting that the EPS growth has been assisted by share buybacks, indicating the company is in a position to return capital to shareholders.
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. Not all of Huntington Bancshares’s revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I’ve used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. Huntington Bancshares maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 4.7% to US$4.3b. That’s progress.
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.
You don’t drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Huntington Bancshares’s future profits.
Are Huntington Bancshares Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$14b company like Huntington Bancshares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$134m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I’d say they are indeed. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like Huntington Bancshares, the median CEO pay is around US$12m.
The Huntington Bancshares CEO received US$8.6m in compensation for the year ending December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I’d also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Is Huntington Bancshares Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One positive for Huntington Bancshares is that it is growing EPS. That’s nice to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Huntington Bancshares, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I’d argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. While we’ve looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven’t yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if Huntington Bancshares is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
You can invest in 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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