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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Vista Outdoor (NYSE:VSTO). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
Vista Outdoor'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. You can imagine, then, that it almost knocked my socks off when I realized that Vista Outdoor grew its EPS from US$0.98 to US$7.60, in one short year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company. Could this be a sign that the business has reached an inflection point?
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. The good news is that Vista Outdoor is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 10.5 percentage points to 20%, over the last year. That's great to see, on both counts.
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 Vista Outdoor?
Are Vista Outdoor Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Vista Outdoor shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$29m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 1.5% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Is Vista Outdoor Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Vista Outdoor's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders certainly brightens my view of the company. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So yes, on this short analysis I do think it's worth considering Vista Outdoor for a spot on your watchlist. Even so, be aware that Vista Outdoor is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...
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.
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.